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Ré Vive: From Biotech to Bergdorf’s

NEW YORK — Ré Vive has found a new growth factor — literally. The high-end treatment brand, whose claim to fame stems from the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of Epidermal Growth Factor, or EGF, has added a new ingredient to its mix,...

NEW YORK — Ré Vive has found a new growth factor — literally. The high-end treatment brand, whose claim to fame stems from the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of Epidermal Growth Factor, or EGF, has added a new ingredient to its mix, called Insulin-like Growth Factor, or IGF.

Until recently, Louisville, Ky.-based plastic surgeon Dr. Gregory Bays Brown, who launched Ré Vive in 1997, relied solely on EGF as the line’s key ingredient. Discovered in 1960 by biochemists Stanley Cohen and Rita Monpalchini, the human protein chain was found to stimulate cell production in the epidermis — a finding that made the two researchers joint Nobel laureates for medicine and physiology in 1986.

Last month, Brown began deepening the Ré Vive assortment with the introduction of the first of two products based on IGF, which is said to stimulate fluid production in the dermal layer of the skin. Specifically, it is said to stimulate the production of amino and proteo glycans, or as Brown puts it, the substances that “fill the fluid-filled spaces in the skin. It’s the mortar that holds collagen to the skin, giving skin a round, fluid-like structure.” Named for its molecular structure, which resembles that of insulin, IGF was discovered in the late-Seventies by a team of Swiss and American doctors.

Ré Vive’s first IGF-based item is called Intensité, which just finished rolling out to Ré Vive’s 100 worldwide doors, including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Bliss and Cosbar Spa in the U.S.; Space NK in the U.K., and one door in France. Brown is planning to launch the second IGF-based product, an eye cream called Intensité les Yeux, in September. Ré Vive’s Intensité franchise could reach retail sales of $2.4 million during the 12 months following the launch of Les Yeux.

The inaugural Intensité entry is a facial treatment product targeting women 35 and older. It is priced for retail at $375 for a 2-oz. jar, which fortifies Ré Vive’s position among other high-end brands like La Prairie, Cle de Peau and Crème de la Mer — and reflects the market price for IGF, according to Brown. Chiron Corp., where Brown conducted two years of research on growth factor in the mid-Eighties, manufactures IGF using DNA-infused yeast cells, which replicate the 52-amino-acid protein during reproduction. The resulting batches of IGF reportedly go for about $30,000 a gram.

This story first appeared in the March 7, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Intensité also boasts metalloproteinase inhibitors, which are said to slow the production of two enzymes, collagenase and elastase. At normal levels, these enzymes are supposed to keep a natural balance of collagen and elastin in the body. But production of the two enzymes supposedly increases with age, according to Brown, reducing levels of collagen and elastin.

The Ré Vive brand had $6 million in wholesale sales last year, a number that could jump by more than 20 percent with the addition of Intensité, according to industry estimates. The first Intensité offering is reportedly backed by an advertising and promotional budget worth $100,000.