Nestlé opens new unit to centralise global clinical development work

Jun 6, 2012
Nestlé’s Clinical Development Unit SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE: The new unit in Switzerland will enable Nestlé to centralise its global programme of clinical trials.

Nestlé is centralising its work in clinical development with the opening of a new unit dedicated to the management of clinical trials.

The company’s Clinical Development Unit (CDU) will allow it to more effectively and efficiently evaluate the impact of its foods and ingredients on human biology and health, as well as on taste and pleasure.

Clinical trials are recognised by food authorities around the world as a robust way of evaluating the effect of nutrients or foods on consumers.

Nestlé has a long track record of carrying out clinical trials and publishing the results worldwide.

The company had more than 100 ongoing clinical trials in 2011 and expects to carry out more than this in future.

“Our clinical development work ultimately provides the scientific evidence as to whether our ingredients, new products, and product reformulations are effective in delivering consumer benefits,” said Werner Bauer, Nestlé’s Chief Technology Officer.

“The new CDU is a strategic fit with our research and development commitment to provide innovative solutions for nutrition, health and wellness.”

Medical expertise

Nestlé’s CDU will provide medical expertise in different therapeutic areas.

It will also offer specialist knowhow in project management, data management and biostatistics – the use of statistics in the analysis of biological data.

The purpose-built building is located in Lausanne, Switzerland.

It is the first time Nestlé has brought the management of its global clinical trials programme under one roof.


“The new CDU is a strategic fit with our research and development commitment to provide innovative solutions for nutrition, health and wellness.”Werner Bauer, Nestlé’s Chief Technology Officer.

Metabolic Unit

The CDU houses a ‘Metabolic Unit’ for metabolic studies in healthy people, as well in those with health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and osteoporosis.

It will meet the company’s growing demand for in-house nutrition studies following the establishment of the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciencesand Nestlé Health Science in 2010.

The unit has exercise equipment to test strength, speed and endurance, and specialist scanners for measuring bone density and body composition.

It has ‘indirect calorimetry’ equipment for scientists to measure the energy people expend at rest and during exercise.

It includes sensory booths, a kitchen and a dining area, and a clinical observation space for metabolic studies.

The Metabolic Unit has been accredited as an affiliated private health facility by the local cantonal authorities.

Close collaboration

The CDU’s location will enable its researchers to work closely with other Nestlé scientists from the Nestlé Research Center and from the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences, which are also based in Lausanne.

The CDU will also work with many Nestlé R&D centres around the world, as well as in collaboration with universities worldwide.

Nestlé’s global R&D network comprises 32 Research, Development and Technology Centres and employs more than 5,000 people.

Nestlé and clinical trials

Nestlé adheres to the World Medical Association’s ‘Declaration of Helsinki’, which outlines ethical principles for research involving human subjects.

All the company’s clinical trials are conducted according to Good Clinical Practice (GCP), an internationally recognised quality standard.

Its new CDU will oversee many different types of clinical trials, including randomised controlled trials.

It will also be responsible for managing all studies carried out in-house in the Metabolic Unit, ensuring they meet all relevant local regulations and GCP.


Related information:
Nestlé Research Center
Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences
Nestlé Health Science
Photos on Flickr
B-roll: Metabolic Unit, Lausanne, Switzerland

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