Nestlé Health Science buys REMfresh, and the melatonin manufacturer’s CEO explains why this acquisition is a win for sleep medicine.
By Sree Roy
The acquisition of a niche sleep company by a larger sleep company to enhance the latter’s existing sleep medicine portfolio is a fairly standard event. But the acquisition of a sleep company by a corporate giant with sales of almost US$3 billion that is a first-time investor in sleep is a remarkable event—and precisely what happened when Nestlé Health Science acquired REMfresh parent company IM HealthScience this summer.
The acquisition “validates how important the sleep industry is to large companies and to consumers, as well as how important sleep specialists are to creating value in enduring brands and products,” says Daniel Hassan, CEO of Physician’s Seal, the sponsoring company that co-marketed melatonin supplement REMfresh along with IM HealthScience. “It really validates that this is an industry that’s growing and an industry that’s exciting….What we see from Nestlé is a trend we think will continue in the sleep space, where we’ve seen incredible growth in devices, prescription products, and (hopefully) we’ll see growth in the nonprescription space as well.”
Nestlé Health Science, a subsidiary of food and beverage behemoth Nestlé, focuses on nutritional health in the space between food/beverage and pharmacology with brands including BOOST nutrition shakes. The subsidiary has experience with providing access to both healthcare practitioners and consumers.
The acquisition also includes IM HealthScience’s other products, which are gastrointestinal (GI)-focused (IBgard, FDgard, and Fiber Choice) and which Hassan characterizes as “closely tied to sleep,” noting, for example, that many people who have inflammatory bowel syndrome also experience sleep difficulties. “It’s a portfolio that’s focused on GI disorders as well as sleep disorders,” he says.
Hassan says the acquisition provides REMfresh the opportunity to expand at a scale well beyond its previous reach. “With Nestlé’s insights and scale, it can make a real impact not just with the current products but with future innovation,” he says, including by bringing new products to market. “Behind the REMfresh brand are several patented products yet to be launched that may provide consumers and patients with further enhancements in the sleep category.”
He emphasizes that Nestlé Health Science is committed to continuing REMfresh’s relationship with sleep specialists. “With Nestlé’s commitment, shown in other areas where it works with physicians, we’re sure physicians will be treated well and with respect and served properly during this transition,” Hassan says.
Sleep, he says, has gone from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have.” Says Hassan, “This acquisition is fantastic news for everyone involved in the sleep community and industry because it validates the focus that’s been put on sleep.”
Sree Roy is editor of Sleep Review.