Delivering with deer: Calecim to enter China, Indonesia and Philippines with stem cell skin care

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Calecim expands its stem cell skin range after signing a multi-year partnership with Menarini Asia-Pacific. ©Matthias Zomer / Pexels
Calecim expands its stem cell skin range after signing a multi-year partnership with Menarini Asia-Pacific. ©Matthias Zomer / Pexels
Calecim Cosmeceuticals will launch its skin range featuring red deer umbilical cord-lining stem-cell extracts in China, Indonesia and the Philippines after signing a multi-year partnership with Menarini Asia-Pacific.

The brand is owned by Singapore-based biotech company CellResearch Corporation (CRC) and claims to be  the only skin care range that uses ethically sourced red deer umbilical cord-lining stem-cell extracts.

Nick Lang, associate director of global distribution at Calecim told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that it was important to grow the business in Asia as it was the fastest-growing aesthetics market in the world.

“We are trying to make Calecim a global brand at the moment. Asia is a really important market for us because it is growing very, very quickly. By the end of this year, our target is to be in 25 countries,” ​he said.

Ethically-sourced stem cells

Calecim sources the umbilical cord-lining stem-cell extracts from farmed red deer in New Zealand.

Lang explained that decided to source from New Zealand because of the country’s agricultural reputation and its strong animal welfare laws.

“When someone asks where the source is from and you say New Zealand, they are a lot more comfortable.”

Red deer was chosen because it does not carry zoonotic diseases and its relatively large size. He stressed that the no red deers are harmed in the making of Calecim’s products.

“We use the umbilical cord, which is medical waste that comes out anyway and goes to waste every single time.”

Expanding in Asia

Currently, Calecim is distributed all over the world, including the US, the UK, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

The agreement will see Menarini distributing the products in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia.

China, Indonesia and the Philippines will be new markets for the company and hold plenty of potential.

In Asia, people are only starting to take a mass level look at [stem cell skin care]. Now they got the disposable income to spend on aesthetic treatments, on high-end products that actually have science-backed evidence that it will have an effect on your skin rather than [products] from local pharmacies,” ​said Lang.

He added: “There is a large consumer base for the products. If you look at China and Indonesia… that probably triples the amount of people who could potentially buy our products.”

One challenge, said Lang, is keeping up with trends and fads in the cosmetics industry.

“It can be challenging to fight against snail secretion or salmon sperm produces. It's hard to keep up with the hype sometimes.”

However, he added that Calecim’s strength is the patents it holds.

CRC is the global patent holder of stem cells derived from umbilical cord-lining tissue. This includes the ingredient, the harvesting techniques and its therapeutic uses.

The company does not license it, which it says makes Calecim the only skin care range in the world that uses umbilical cord-lining stem-cell extracts.

He added: “We have a pipeline of drugs on the way which are looking things like Parkinson’s... Calecim is the first step and when all these new products come out it will only boost the brand and give it validity.”

CRC is constantly developing new products for its cosmetic range as well. Its latest product is the Recovery Night Complex, an overnight gel that can be worn as an overnight mask for tired and dehydrated skin.

Fortunately, Lang believes there is a good understanding of stem cells in globally.

“We get a lot of push back. People do ask if we are killing these deers for their stem cells. A lot of what we do is about education. There’s a deeper level of understanding and we try to explain it to people.”

Regardless, Lang believes there is a lot of potential for Calecim’s skin care products in the region.

He concluded: “It's such an exciting field because it's making the body heal itself. In the future, in cosmetics, I think what you will see in products is extract from stem cells and I predict there will be injectable products and potentially products that can assist in surgeries.”

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