By  on June 8, 2007

PARIS — Amatokin, an antiaging serum that uses stem cell technology to renew skin cells, has been flying off perfumery shelves in Europe and the U.S.

Industry sources estimate the product, which was developed by Voss Labor­atories, based in Salt Lake City, generated sales of 1 million euros, or $1.4 million at current exchange, in its first two months on sale in Sephora's top 14 stores in France and at sephora.fr. That performance was achieved despite the product's hefty price tag of 190 euros, or $258, per 30 ml.

Amatokin bowed in the U.S. in April at Bloomingdale's and in the U.K. in May at Harvey Nichols. Its distributor, Basic Research, also handles the antiaging product Strivectin.

Executives at the firm said consumer interest in the product, which targets the 35-year-old-plus set, was huge, and cited a waiting list of 250 people at Harvey Nichols before the product went on sale there. Industry sources estimate it will generate between $5 million and $7 million at retail in its first year.

"When you apply Ama­tokin cream in a local application, it initiates the release of very, very powerful growth factors responsible for cell proliferation," said Louis Rinaldi, chief cosmetic development officer of Voss Laboratories. "It contains a peptide that produces a fingerprint of solid evidence showing our bodies' own stem cells are being used to renew skin tissue."

Rinaldi claims this is the first time such stem cell markers have been shown to appear in skin tissue following a topical cream application. In other words, the peptides in the cream purportedly renew the biological processes of the skin in the same way as a stem cell.

Such claims have sparked controversy.

"Of course, there's a lot of controversy about this," said Rinaldi, adding such issues delayed Amatokin's launch in the U.S. "This is such a revolutionary technology, people ask how can you use it in such a trivial fashion — for beauty and vanity? We take the opposite line. Beauty is not vanity; healthy, good, young-looking skin is not vanity. A young, functioning heart is not vanity, and skin is the body's largest organ. To maintain its health and integrity is not vanity at all."

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