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Taking Cosmetic Efficacy Testing to a New Level: Gerwin J. Puppels
By: Jean A. Allured, Freelance Writer and Editor
Posted: December 1, 2006, from the December 2006 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
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William Riggs, Gerwin Puppels and Eric Marple founded River Diagnostics BV, located in Rotterdam, in 2002. Cofounder Riggs, CEO of the company until 2005, said, “Puppels designed a new, highly-sensitive instrument that could perform cosmetic efficacy testing as well as answer basic research questions regarding the skin.” Riggs and Puppels founded the company, according to Riggs, to bring the instrument out of the laboratory.
Puppels said that once the cosmetic industry showed interest, “the thing to do then was to turn a laboratory technique that worked great in the hands of experts into an easy-to-use workhorse that required a minimum of training and maintenance and enabled [researchers] to carry out panel studies efficiently.”
The Model 3510 Skin Composition Analyzer met these goals so well, according to Puppels, that he and Riggs created another problem. Puppels described the problem as, “How to efficiently organize and analyze the vast amount of data generated in a single study.” He later clarified, “In order to tackle this problem we are developing a data analysis toolbox—SkinTools—that will be released soon.”
Johan Wiechers, principal scientist and skin care R&D manager for Uniqema, finds the work of Puppels to be revolutionary. “What was so dramatically good about the work of [Puppels] and is that he developed something that, until that moment, was not possible. Within a year after the publication of their article in JID, they were working with every big company in the cosmetic industry, as our colleagues immediately understood the importance of what they did—measuring real water, not a derived parameter, in real skin in vivo, and not a general number but as a function of depth,” said Wiechers.
Riggs returned to his home in the United States in 2005. At that time, Puppels, formerly the chief technology officer, assumed the role of CEO of River Diagnostics, a position which he now holds. He reportedly continues to work with the EMC.