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John Paul DeJoria Launches Cold-Sore Treatment Line

With a market of 3.7 billion potential customers, the ceo of Paul Mitchell plans to create a billion-dollar business.

John Paul DeJoria, the cofounder of Paul Mitchell Systems, Patron tequila and a handful of other companies, is at it again.

This time he’s bringing cold-sore treatment Aubio, $39.99, to the market, saying he expects to build a billion-dollar business. The Aubio line also includes a lip balm with SPF 15 that retails for $9.99. The products launched nationwide in Target retail stores Thursday, and are sold on Amazon and Target’s website. According to DeJoria, citing the World Health Organization, more than 3.7 billion people suffer from cold sores, giving him a massive market to serve.

Looking forward, DeJoria expects to take the business into doctors’ offices and other retailers, as well as expand in the salon channel. “A lot of salons have taken it on now as part of the Paul Mitchell network, because it’s beauty,” he said. He’s planning for global distribution.

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DeJoria also has a charity angle — eventually, some profits from the business will go toward helping women who have been pulled out of slavery or the sex trade. “The minute we start making some money I want to give back, I want to take all these rescue places for girls in prostitution and women in slavery, and most of them have cold sores, and let’s give it to them so they look and they feel good,” DeJoria said.

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Aubio taps into the power of carnivorous plants, more specifically pitcher plants, for the product. When used, DeJoria says in more than 90 percent of cases, it can either prevent a cold sore from coming all the way through or get rid of one in as little as two days. “The majority [of the plants used in the product] are carnivorous plants from the pitcher family, like the venus fly trap,” DeJoria said. “You have to think, over millions of years they’ve survived. They’ve survived by eating where there’s mosquitos, flies, everything — so they’ve learned in their digestive system how to survive anything that goes in their mouth. Well, that means they have an immune system that’s off the charts. So what this product actually does is, it helps stop the replication of the cold-sore virus,” he said.

The business is also looking into expanding the product line beyond lip care. An acne-treatment line that may use the same plant-based ingredient formula is in the works, DeJoria said. “We’re doing a double-blind study with over 100 people to prove that it does something for acne and it does something for pimples,” he said. “Right now, it’s a cold-sore treatment, but I want us to be able to say it’s an acne treatment product.”