Updated on August 17, 2016
Welcome to another edition of Weekly Thoughts. This week’s news consists of an update on Christiano’s cellular hair growth startup Rapunzel, some interesting tidbits on Histogen, and updates being made to the Ultimate Guide to Hair Regeneration 2016. Bonus news alert: I will also have an exclusive interview with one of the newer hair growth startups coming next week, stay tuned for that one. Before we get right into the news items I’d like to share with you all a website that a reader of this site named Beth has made in her own efforts to support new effective hair growth treatments coming to be. Please visit her site Hair Growth Campaign. Thank you all for your continued support.
Christiano Cultured in Hair Research
A little over a year ago we first got word that the Queen of Hair Growth Research (I’m giving her that title) , Dr Angela Christiano, was starting a new company named Rapunzel which would be aimed at cultured cellular injections for hair growth. That news was a big deal (in my opinion) because Christiano is one of the longest tenured hair follicle researchers in the world and she has done extensive research on cell culturing with hair follicle wizard Dr Colin Jahoda, who is probably the other longest tenured hair follicle researcher in the world. However, that blurb about Rapunzel was quickly overshadowed by Christiano making the headlines again for her research on JAK inhibitors inducing hair growth. Not too long after the JAK research was released we learned that Christiano had sold her company Vixen, which contained the IP on JAK inhibitors, to Aclaris Therapeutics.
Ah, but what about that really cool sounding company Rapunzel? In an article published last Friday Christiano is talking about Rapunzel again and gives a small hint at what the treatment might be capable of. The article mentions that Christiano is working on 3-D cultured hair stem cells that are fed certain growth factors. Christiano had this one interesting quote to divulge about the research:
““Rat hair, that is — we can grow rat hair like it’s no tomorrow,….But we think we can do it with human hair, too.”
Sounds to me like Rapunzel is in preclinical stage and that this treatment will be done by injections. I mention injections because with the new Tsuji technology it’s not clear whether they will be administering simply injections or implanting follicle germs one-by-one. With a quick review back to the first article that mentions Rapunzel it sounds to me like this treatment will be injection only which is a more convenient method in my opinion.
Histogen Making Noise
Everyone’s favorite company to ask about, Histogen, has just issued a press release today detailing a new $6 million round of funding it secured from Huapont Life Sciences of China. Not only is this financially supportive to Histogen, the press release mentions that Huapont will be manufacturing and distributing Histogen’s lead hair growth product, Hair Stimulating Complex, in China. That’s pretty interesting. We have known for a while that Histogen has plans to roll out HSC in Mexico in 2017, and also has it’s sights set on releasing HSC in Japan as well. Now, they’ve got a partner in China. Things seem to be speeding up a bit lately
Histogen will also be doing an interview with HLT to be posted within the next day or so.
Ultimately Getting There
A full update on the Ultimate Guide to Hair Regeneration 2016 will be done soon. I have begun the updates already and should be completed by the end of the week. There is a new treatment holding down the #3 spot on the guide, a treatment that is well known by you all. Check it out soon and see how the list pans out. There’s going to be about 4-5 companies making the list for the first time that have just popped up over the last 3 months or so.
Until next time, be well.
Posted on July 22, 2016
Replicel’s hair growth therapy, RCH-01, has officially received approval by Japanese regulatory authorities to be used in a clinical trial that is now launching. We did hear some rumblings recently that Shiseido was putting the final touches on it’s clinical trial to take place at the Tokyo Medical University Hospital and Toho University Ohasi Medical Center. Now it’s official. Have at it Shiseido, and best wishes from Follicle Thought.
Updated on July 20, 2016
Hello everyone and welcome to a timely edition of Weekly Thoughts,
The news involving Kyocera and Dr. Tsuji in this Weekly Thoughts is perhaps the best development I’ve heard of this year since the original buzz of the Brotzu lotion hit the internet a few months back. This edition also features a new intriguing company that is developing a device to be worn on a person’s head to emit bioelectric signals to hair follicles. Sounds weird? Perhaps, but it is based on legitimate research. Check it out.
Kyocera confirms Tsuji’s Research
It was just about 3 months ago that we learned Dr. Takashi Tsuji of the RIKEN Institute of Japan was finally getting some major support from a Japanese pharmaceutical company to pursue his hair regeneration research. Apparently, things are going well for Dr. Tsuji in the lab. This past week the major electronics company Kyocera announced that they will be establishing a joint venture with RIKEN and the regenerative medicine company Organ Technologies to bring Dr. Tsuji’s hair regeneration treatment to market. In the deal Kyocera will be developing the cell processing devices and RIKEN and Organ Technologies will be responsible for the stem cell culturing and manipulation, the production process, and implementation of the preclinical trials.
Overall, the treatment works like this: A small number of hair follicles are extracted from a person’s donor scalp area, specific stem cells from the hair follicles will be isolated, cultured, and augmented, this process produces a hair follicle “germ”, when the hair follicle germs are ready they are then delivered to a facility where they can be transplanted back into the person’s scalp.
It’s not very different from Replicel, although the culturing process sounds a bit more advanced. I also imagine that these hair follicle germs are going to be transplanted back into a person’s scalp in a much more precise manner than just 25 spaced out injections. I do wonder if it might even be the case that the hair germs are implanted one at a time. Time will tell that answer.
The kicker: Kyocera has announced that they aim for the treatment to be on the market in 2020. That’s not a promise, but it’s a much better timeline than I would have guessed.
Here is an image from Kyocera’s press release about the venture.
HairCell: A little Stimulation, anyone?
Did you ever sit there and imagine putting some kind of high-tech device on your head that would stimulate your hair follicles to grow? It’s a funny thought, but I’m pretty sure the idea has crossed my mind at one point or another. Well, here comes the real life counterpart.
A Leonhardt Ventures Co startup, HairCell, aims to create hair growth from a much different approach than the rest of the current industry. The HairCell technology platform includes a bioelectric stimulator device to be worn on the head which is said to control expressions of specific proteins to be released in sequences, and this stimulator is also coupled with a device containing low-depth penetration electro-acupuncture needles. These needles release stem cells and growth factors into the scalp. Fancy stuff. Here’s what the stimulator cap looks like:
I mean, the idea of this technology sounds fascinating, but, upon hearing about it initially I was not sure what to make of it. I began browsing the Leonhardt Ventures site and found myself reading the webpage dedicated to another biotech startup by Leonhardt called AortaCell. Voila. That webpage mentions that “AortaCell is based on adaptations and improvements of technology originally explained by Dr. Robert O. Becker in his landmark 1985 publication The Body Electric.” Thumbs up from me. For those unfamiliar with Dr. Becker’s work, he was truly a visionary in the field of electromedicine. I have read his book The Body Electric, and I highly recommend it to those who have an interest in science/medicine. To give you all an idea of what Dr. Becker’s work entailed I will share a little bit of what I remember from his book. A piece of Dr. Becker’s research that I found particularly interesting was his work studying salamanders and their ability to regenerate limbs. This is a curious phenomenon because virtually all other species do not. Dr. Becker found that it was the electrical signal from the salamander’s body (which was a different signal in salamanders compared to other species) to the tissue at the end of a wound which would enable the tissue to regenerate. Interesting, huh?
But, back to HairCell and Leonhardt Ventures. Clinical trials, anyone? There will be a Phase I clinical trial for the HairCell technology involving about 30 people and is anticipated to begin in August 2016. Further details about the study are found here. I was pleased to see that the trial would begin so soon. I bet by now you are wondering what kind of efficacy this treatment holds for hair growth. Well, the clinical trial is recruiting for Norwoods 4,5,6, and 7 which is a good sign, if anything. HairCell also has made some lofty statements about their goals for this technology. Here’s a quote to leave you with from their patent application: “Our device controls release of SDF-1 a stem cell homing factor as well as IGF-1, HGF, EGF, Follistatin, Tropoelastin, eNOS and VEGF as well as micro infusion delivery of a 15 component hair regeneration cocktail which includes nutrient hydrogel, thus providing all the supporting elements to grow a full head of hair.”
Hmm, hmm, and hmm.
For more information on the patent application for HairCell and other company info check their website. The founder of this enterprise is Howard Leonhardt who is also the founder of a plethora of startups aimed at cardio health. Howard also serves as board advisor at USC’s Center for Technology and Innovation in Pedicatrics and at UCLA for Bioengineering and Medical Device Engineering.
Until next time, be well.
Updated on July 24, 2016
Hey everybody and welcome to another installment of Weekly Thoughts.
This week we get an encouraging update about the logistics of Shiseido’s trial and more information about the RiverTown Therapeutics compound.
Shiseido Closer to Trial
News was finally released this week about the upcoming trial that Shiseido will be conducting in Japan for Replicel’s RCH-01 therapy. Shiseido acquired an exclusive license in 2013 to bring Replicel’s hair regeneration therapy to market for Asian countries. Since then, it was known that Shiseido would be implementing it’s own clinical trials of RCH-01 in Japan which would bring RCH-01 to market much sooner than the US clinical trial timelime. Many had thought that Shiseido’s trial would commence in 1st half 2016, but that was not the case. It appears that Shisiedo is finally ready to commence it’s trial in Japan which would be the only trial necessary to bring the therapy to market, as long as the therapy showed efficacy/safety initially and maintained safety after the duration of the trial. Read More
Updated on July 24, 2016
Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Weekly Thoughts.
We’re now past the halfway point of the year, and quite frankly, I think a lot of people expected there to be more news regarding pivotal clinical trails for some of our favorite hair growth technologies. Nonetheless, the good news continues to pour in and I have a feeling there will be some more major announcements soon. Let’s take a look at some meaningful hair growth treatment news as of recent.
New Dr Brotzu Interview
Dr Giovanni Brotzu completed a new interview for the BelliCapelli forum (Italian) yesterday and it is a great read. Having been a vascular surgeon for many decades Dr Brotzu has a wonderful understanding of the vascular system and it’s implications on alopecia. In the interview Brotzu mentions that there is currently an ongoing trial of 60 people with AGA using the lotion (probably Fidia’s trial), and that he is personally conducting a trial of 18 people with alopecia areata/totalis. There is an excellent description of how the “Brotzu lotion” works in the interview with depictions included. Here’s a quote from one of Dr Brotzu’s responses to wet the appetite:
“The lotion works very well when it begins to manifest alopecia, in people under the age of 30 will have good results with total stop of the fall and re-growth of hair and miniaturized hairs or even vellus / invisible resume a normal appearance. Logically, the treatment starts to give clear results after about 30 days and must be prolonged for many months.“ Read More
Updated on July 24, 2016
Welcome to another edition of Weekly Thoughts. This edition features a presentation update on the JAK inhibitor therapies and the announcement of a new startup/treatment for hair growth that is also claimed to restore hair pigment. Wowzas. Let’s take a look.
Aclaris Therapeutics Jeffries Presentation
Acalaris Therapeutics CEO Dr. Neal Walker made a presentation on June 8, 2016 at the Jeffries 2016 Healthcare Conference displaying the current state and path ahead for Aclaris. These conferences are designed to attract investor attention for the respective companies who present at them. Things look good moving forward for Aclaris and the news that was shared is that the company is setting its sights on initiating a clinical trial for alopecia areata in the first half 2017. That would presumably mean that a clinical trial for a topical JAK inhibitor for the indication of androgenic alopecia would follow, but there has been no mention of it so far. One interesting tidbit from the presentation is that Aclaris has recently acquired the rights to some “Next Generation” JAK inhibitors which are covantly bound. At this point I do not know what advantages they provide, but it sounds good. Read More
Updated on July 24, 2016
Last summer I was happy to discover BiologicsMD, a new biotech startup coming out of Fayetteville, Arkansas. The company had just announced a new patent for the uses of bone growth, hair growth, and prevention of hair loss. You might imagine it was the latter two that caught my eye. It’s been almost a year since I spoke to BiologicsMD CEO David Owens and featured an article on his company’s patent. I thought now would be a good time to check in and see how things were going in The Land of Opportunity (that’s Arkansas BTW, for those less acquainted).
Updated on July 24, 2016
A professor from Hebei University of Science and Technology, Chunyu Han, has developed a potentially groundbreaking genome editing technology. The technology is similar in nature to the CRISPR-Cas9 method but uses DNA-guided genome editing instead of RNA-guided genome editing. Han’s work was published in the May 2nd edition of the Nature Biotechnology Journal and has received a lot of attention since then in the scientific community. The system devloped by Han uses Natronobacterium gregoryi Argonaute (NgAgo) to bind and interact with the DNA, creating breaks in the strands where desired. There are reportedly several advantages to Han’s NgAGo compared to conventional gene editing methods, namely that it is does not pose a risk of causing cancer.
Updated on July 24, 2016
I wanted to give everyone a quick update about one of the hottest topics in the hair growth treatment world, the Brotzu lotion. The information given during the presentation is mostly a rehash of what has been previously discussed, but does contain a few interesting tidbits including a few slides displaying hair follicle generation and a before/after photo of a baby who used the lotion.
Dr. Giovanni (John) Brotzu made a presentation last weekend at an Italian Alopecia Areata Association meeting. The presentation is completely in Italian, but is somewhat entertaining for non-Italian speakers like myself (Avanti!). Dr Brotzu was at the meeting to discuss his hair growth lotion discovery and also showed one photographic example of a baby with alopecia areata who used the treatment and has some nice hair growing about one year later (see below.) This treatment has very high credibility in my opinion. I really look forward to the pharmaceutical company producing the lotion (Fidia) releasing more information about their initial trial for the Brotzu lotion. Read More
Updated on May 2, 2016
It’s nice to be back here with you all for another installment of Weekly Thoughts. I’m personally excited about several items discussed in this edition. Let’s see what’s going on in the hair world this week.
BiologicsMD New Site Layout With Pipeline
BiologicsMD, a biotech startup which is affiliated with the University of Arkansas, has recently updated their website. An interesting change that I noticed was that it seems the company is now marketing themselves mainly as a hair loss therapeutic developer. There is also still mention of treatments for bone disorders. The new site layout depicts a pipeline chart which shows BMD-1141 as the lead drug candidate for the treatment of alopecia areata. ….Yes, there is also a candidate for androgenic alopecia titled BMD-1341 (hooray) and also another formulation for chemotherapy induced hair loss.
This would mean that there is yet another pharmaceutical grade topical in the works for the purpose of growing hair. We look forward to hearing about the progress of BiologicsMD’s hair therapy candidates which are mainly listed as being in the “formulation and topical efficacy testing” stage. You might also notice that BiologicsMD has listed my first article about their patent for hair growth on their website.