Nobel Prize winner introduces skin care line | December 18, 2017 Issue - Vol. 95 Issue 49 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 95 Issue 49 | p. 13 | News of The Week
Issue Date: December 18, 2017

Nobel Prize winner introduces skin care line

Molecular machine builder Fraser Stoddart is behind new firm that will sell high-priced antiaging cosmetics
Department: Business
Keywords: Nanomaterials, cosmetics, Nobel Prize, antiaging, Fraser Stoddart, PanaceaNano
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Fraser Stoddart and Youssry Botros at the 2016 Nobel Prize ceremonies.
Credit: PanaceaNano
A photo of Fraser Stoddart and Youssry Botros.
 
Fraser Stoddart and Youssry Botros at the 2016 Nobel Prize ceremonies.
Credit: PanaceaNano

In 2016, J. Fraser Stoddart won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his part in designing a molecular machine. Now as chief technology officer and cofounder of nanotechnology firm PanaceaNano, he has introduced the “Noble” line of antiaging cosmetics, including a $524 formula described as an “anti-wrinkle repair” night cream. The firm says the cream contains Nobel Prize-winning “organic nano-cubes” loaded with ingredients that reverse skin damage and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Other prize-winning chemists have founded companies, but Stoddart’s backing of the antiaging cosmetic line takes the promotion of a new company by an award-winning scientist to the next level.

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Credit: PanaceaNano
A photo of cosmetics containers.
 
Credit: PanaceaNano

The nano-cubes are made of carbohydrate molecules known as cyclodextrins. The cubes, of various sizes and shapes, release ingredients such as vitamins and peptides onto the skin “at predefined times with molecular precision,” according to the Noble skin care website. PanaceaNano cofounder Youssry Botros, former nanotechnology research director at Intel, contends that the metering technology makes the product line “far superior to comparable products in the market today.” However, the nanocubes aren’t molecular machines, for which Stoddart won his Nobel prize.

While acknowledging the product line trades on his Nobel prize, Stoddart points out to C&EN that “we’re not spelling our product name, Noble, the way the Swedish Nobel Foundation does.” Ethicist Michael Kalichman has a different perspective. Use of the word Noble, even though spelled differently than the prize, is “unseemly but not illegal,” he says. Kalichman, who is director of the Research Ethics Program at the University of California, San Diego, adds, “If his goal is to make money, this may work. But if his goal is to retain credibility and pursue other more laudable goals, maybe he should stay focused on those goals.”

Botros says PanaceaNano is also developing nanotechnology materials for markets including hydrogen storage, flexible batteries, and molecular memory based on technology from Stoddart’s lab and licensed from Northwestern University. But PanaceaNano chose to make its first commercial product a line of cosmetics because of the high margins and the ease of market entry.

 
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