From Nobel Prize to Noble Panacea

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

Noble Panacea. Remember the (rather nice) name. I suspect you will be hearing a lot more of it.

For the uninitiated – and I counted myself among them until yesterday – Noble Panacea is a luxury skincare brand. A cruelty-free, gluten-free and fragrance-free brand and one with a remarkable back story.

Noble Panacea was founded by Sir J. Fraser Francis Stoddart, a world-renowned scientist who in 2016 was awarded The Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The ‘Sir’ came when he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2006, while he also received the Albert Einstein World Award of Science in 2007.

Sir Fraser put his impressive chemistry acumen to work on developing a skincare brand, one that boasts a unique scientific technology called Organic Super Molecular Vessel (OSMV).

OSMV is claimed to increase the efficacy of Noble Panacea’s products up to tenfold, extending the regenerative and healing properties of active ingredients. I’ll save the details for an interview I’m running soon with  Noble Panacea Chief Executive Officer Céline Talabaza, a dynamic business leader who co-designed the brand with Sir Fraser Stoddart and Head of Brand Development and Audrey Bois Nicolaï.

In October 2019, Noble Panacea was launched at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, a choice of venue designed to offer an allegory of the sculpting prowess that the brand’s molecular technology represents.

“Noble Panacea means a universal cure of high moral excellence. It means to think beautifully,” says Sir Fraser of his creation.

Besides its impressive sustainability credentials, Noble Panacea also has a deep commitment to women’s causes. The key one is Girl Up, an oustanding organisation committed to advancing the skills, rights and opportunities of girls everywhere. Here in Hong Kong the company works with Inspiring Girls Hong Kong, a charitable organisation that focuses on the education and empowerment of girls aged 14-16 in the local community.

The brand also boasts impressive star power. British actress Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) is a Global Ambassador while Christy Turlington has just been named Noble Panacea’s new ‘Fundamental Changemaker in Residence’. Clearly not a brand that does things by halves.

Until now, Noble Panacea has only been available in domestic markets (the US, Hong Kong and the UK are its top three) but travel retail is high on the agenda.

Yesterday I had the pleasure to meet newly appointed Director of Global Travel Retail Sophie (Xinling) Wang and Marketing Manager – APAC Sharon Koo to discuss the brand’s aspirations in the channel. Sophie is well known in travel retail through earlier stints with L’Oréal and Safilo. “We’re at the start of our journey,” she says of the company’s heady ambitions within the channel.

Sharon Koo (centre) and Sophie Wang talk me through Noble Panacea’s products and principles

Sharon was formerly Head of Marketing Asia for haircare brand ghd (which stands for good hair day – something I haven’t had for a while) before becoming Noble Panacea’s first employee in Asia. Did she consider that a risk at the time, I asked? “No, it was an opportunity,” she replied.

It certainly was, as evidenced by Noble Panacea’s resounding success in the Hong Kong local market and growing presence elsewhere. Next stop travel retail – a suitably noble challenge.