The Raleigh-based subsidiary of global skin care products company Merz Pharma Group said this week it has received regulatory approval to sell the nation’s first injectable “filler” to improve the appearance of bony, aging hands.
Merz North America plans to market the product, Radiesse, to the one million-plus Americans who receive face lifts, injections and other facial treatments and want youthful-looking hands to match their rejuvenated faces.
“We’re all seeking symmetry,” said Jim Hartman, vice president of aesthetics for Merz North America.
Hartman also said Radiesse could appeal to young brides who want beautiful hands to show off their wedding rings. The process, known as volumizing, fills out the hand and reduces the prominence of tendons and veins.
Radiesse had previously received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006 as a treatment to smooth out facial wrinkles and to fill out the facial gauntness of HIV patients. Radiesse can cause nodules, bumps or lumps in the back of the hand and can last up to a one year; the most common side effects are temporary bruising, redness, swelling, pain, itching, as well as temporary loss of feeling and difficulty performing activities, the company said.
In clinical trials, 75 percent of evaluators said Radiesse improved hand appearance three months after injection, Merz said. The evaluators didn’t know which patients had received Radiesse and which ones were injected with a placebo.
Merz, based in Frankfurt, Germany, has about 15 core over-the-counter, prescription and physician dispensed creams, ointments and injectables to treat scars, wrinkles and other conditions.
The company caters to a growing vanity market and expects to report revenue of about $390 million in North America for the 2015 fiscal year that ends June 30, said CEO William Humphries. Last year the company reported $292 million in revenue for North America.
On Thursday, Merz, which had previously been based in High Point, also announced its new North American headquarters in Raleigh with a ribbon-cutting featuring Gov. Pat McCrory. The company has been in the new building on Six Forks Road since January and now employs 256 people there, 800 employees in the United States and about 2,500 worldwide.