Behind the Big Story

How Haleon will meet innovation goals: Deep human understanding, trusted science, partnerships key – WATCH

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Haleon caltrate personalised nutrition centrum R&D

A deep understanding of human biology, tapping on trusted science and key partnerships with researchers, start-ups and suppliers are key in achieving new breakthroughs in nutraceuticals innovation, Haleon’s chief of R&D told NutraIngredients-Asia in an exclusive interview.

Franck Riot, chief R&D Officer, has also cautioned against working in silos or viewing diagnostic devices, product ingredients, formulations, and dosage format separately during the innovation process, as doing so could result in delivering only “a bit of” ​everything.

Haleon, formerly known as GSK Consumer Healthcare, counts Centrum and Caltrate as its flagship supplement brands. Other well-known brands include kids cod liver oil supplement Scott’s as well as pain relief natural extracts brand PanaNatra, which is currently available in the Oceania.

We recently reported on the firm’s innovation pipeline​, spanning personalisation, healthy ageing and digital solutions, so in the first of our Behind the Big Story videos, we wanted to get a better understanding of how this can come to fruition.

“I think it's about combining everything which have been done before and accelerating the science, because obviously the ingredients are okay, devices are okay, the formulations and formats are okay. Now, if you combine everything together with the deep human understanding, that's going to make a difference...

"If you don't combine that together, you will not deliver all the solutions, you will deliver a bit of [everything]. What we could do as a company, as Haleon, is combining all of that for our consumers in one solution,” ​said Riot. 

Building strategic partnerships is crucial in achieving the goal and these partnerships could involve academic researchers, ingredient suppliers to start-ups.

“For me, the recipe [to success] is based on how you work with the right ecosystem and this is very powerful. 

“I want to have this kind of ecosystem where we are all working together, not just in insolation, in silos, but how we also partner as an ecosystem to develop solutions in a meaningful way for consumers.”

During a recent trip to Singapore, Riot said he visited Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and National University Health System’s Centre for Healthy Longevity, adding that Singapore was an “exciting hub”​ when it comes to science and technology.

Prior to that, he had also visited China and he believes the vast population could offer insights into consumer needs that would likely resonate with consumers from other parts of APAC as well. He will be travelling to South Korea next.

Asked the key considerations that the company has when selecting the partners to work with, he said he would first look at the types of benefit areas that the potential partners are working on.

“First of all, it starts with what kind of benefits we are targeting. As an example, healthy ageing is a priority everywhere. We are an ageing population, so how can we bring solutions?" ​he said.

Other than healthy ageing, the company is also planning to advance its solutions for mobility, immunity, cognitive, and women’s health.  

"We are also looking at different kinds of needs state, beyond vitamins and minerals, as you can see, we have products for seniors 50 years old and above, we have Centrum for men and women and so, we will like to go more into this direction, to customise more solutions for more specific needs.

"This is a journey towards personalised solution, we are moving into that direction, but in between what want to get to and now, there are still a lot of things that we need to do to bring more solutions to more stratified group of people with specific needs,"​ added Alicia Ng, vice-president, head of R&D, wider Asia, Haleon. 

Watch the video to find out more.  

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