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Business Deals

Shiseido buys wrinkle-hiding rub-on 'skin' ops from US startup

Youth-enhancing products thriving as populations age worldwide

TOKYO -- Japanese cosmetics maker Shiseido has purchased synthetic skin operations from a U.S. startup to gain an edge in the growing field of anti-aging products.

Shiseido acquired patents covering technologies for forming the skin-like film and related businesses from Massachusetts-based Olivo Laboratories. Although the price was not disclosed, the deal is thought to be worth tens of millions of dollars.

Olivo is developing what it calls "second skin," a material that mimics youthful skin. When special formulations are applied to the skin, they dry as a clear film to instantly conceal wrinkles and sagging. Wrinkle-fighting cosmetics currently available take several weeks of continuous application to have an effect.

Shiseido aims to bring a product based on this technology to market in 2020 and develop the sector into a roughly 10 billion yen ($89.9 million) business in a few years. The company plans to incorporate Olivo's second-skin technology into sunscreens and other skin care products as it continues to improve the ingredients.

Olivo was founded in 2015 by a group of professors including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Robert Langer, a bioengineering specialist and renowned dermatology researcher. Langer will help Shiseido commercialize the technology.

Shiseido will gradually roll out the technology in such countries as Japan, China and the U.S. where demand for anti-aging products is high.


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