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From the 1950s onwards, Gattefossé contributed to university seminars and lessons in specialist institutes. This served to raise the company’s profile in the dermo-pharmaceutical sector but also helped dosage form manufacturers to use its products. However, the long-term aim was to train prospective future clients. In the 2010s, the business was keen to raise awareness of its lipid excipients amongst foreign students.
In 1956, Gattefossé helped to set up the European Centre for Dermocosmetology (CED). The organization was created to inform and train dispensing pharmacists in dermopharmacy, in other words, cosmetic products manufactured by pharmaceutical companies and sold in pharmacies. The CED delivered its teaching materials at training days where contributing speakers included dermatologists, lecturers in galenic formulation and cosmetic science, as well as industry specialists.
Customers at Gattefossé for a dermopharmacy course, end of 1960s.
Gattefossé’s commitment to teaching students continued over the years that followed, and in 1965, the company helped to develop a dermopharmaceutical course at the University of Lyon. In 1969, Gattefossé delivered a lesson to cosmetology students at the academic Institute of Industrial Pharmacy in Lyon (IPIL). The institute had been set up several years earlier and had a particular interest in training dosage form specialists for industry. The IPIL was soon known nationally, and within no time at all was offering the first-ever training in industrial cosmetology for pharmacists. And Gattefossé played a key role in this. First-year practical formulation work took place at Gattefossé, with the sessions led by company employees.
Gattefossé was able to make a name for itself by working across all these different student environments, and at the same time, it developed very specific courses corresponding to the company’s key activities in lipid chemistry and industrial pharmacy.
In 2004, Gattefossé set up a series of “Lipid schools”. These were theoretical and practical training modules aimed at manufacturers wanting to improve their understanding and formulation of lipid excipients, which were still relatively unknown at the time (especially those intended for oral administration). Hundreds of clients benefited from this training, most of which was delivered at the Saint-Priest site so participants could use Gattefossé products. And while outcomes were positive and modules went on to be delivered internationally, despite all efforts, return on investment and thus turnover (important in any industry) were an issue.
So, Gattefossé decided to “confront” the problem by going back to where it all started: with students, the company’s future clients.
Since 1950, the business had successfully taught students about the use of lipids, so Gattefossé decided to expand its program internationally. New industry recruits generally built their careers on the technical and theoretical knowledge they acquired at university, making the company’s contribution at this level all the more appealing. In 2017, Gattefossé developed an education program called “Back to the Fac”, aimed at international students.
“Back to the Fac” at Strathclyde University (England) in 2019.
Materials were sent to the company’s entire academic network, formed through the Journées Galéniques conference series. In addition, Gattefossé targeted universities offering pharmacy courses aimed at future pharmaceutical manufacturers. The aim of “Back to the Fac” was to help academics teach lipid formulation, and for Gattefossé there were two key benefits to the program. Firstly, the program ensured that Gattefossé’s future clients were being trained. However, it also made academics more aware of Gattefossé and its work. And this is a crucial point, as academics are responsible for writing seminal works in leading scientific publications.