Nestle, the world’s largest food maker, today (27 September) announced plans for a new venture to develop products that will help prevent and treat conditions including diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

The Swiss food giant unveiled a new subsidiary, Nestle Health Science, which will incorporate its existing Nestle HealthCare Nutrition business, which already had a turnover of CHF1.6bn (US$1.63bn) in 2009.

The Kit Kat maker is also set to establish the Nestle Institute of Health Sciences to hold research into biomedical science to develop “nutritional strategies to improve health and longevity”.

Nestle chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe said that the company would be a “pioneer” in shaping the space between the food and pharma industries.

“The combination of health economics, changing demographics and advances in health science show that our existing healthcare systems, which focus on treating sick people, are not sustainable and need redesigning,” Brabeck-Letmathe said. “Nestlé has the expertise, the science, the resources and the organisation to play a major role in seeking alternative solutions. Personalised health science nutrition is about finding efficient and cost effective ways to prevent and treat acute and chronic diseases in the 21st century.”