Updated on September 17, 2017
I’ve had many readers inquire lately about the current progress of RiverTown Therapeutics Inc.’s RT1640. RTI’s therapy for hair regeneration, RT1640, is a topical medication composed of minoxidil, cyclosporine A, and a novel molecule called RT175. The company debuted some impressive hair growth photos on this site last year. The question that’s been on a lot of people’s minds since then – “how’s things coming along at RiverTown?” I recently caught up with David Weinstein MD PhD, the CSO/CMO of RiverTown Therapeutics Inc. to give you all a clearer picture of what they’ve been working on and what the future may look like for this company of interest.
Q&A with David Weinstein MD PhD
FT: When/where is the next clinical trial for RT1640 taking place?
DW: We are currently negotiating a Phase 2 trial in Australia. The Australian government has made a concerted and focused effort to enhance the biotechnology effort in their nation. To that end, they have made it both easy and very cost-effective to carryout trials there by granting very liberal tax incentives and R&D rebates to small companies. We will let you how these negotiations progress.
DW: Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. Like most autoimmune diseases, the underlying etiology is unclear. We know that this is a systemic disease, in which T cells recognize elements of the hair follicle as being foreign, and attack them, resulting in lots of inflammation and hair loss. We also know that people with one autoimmune disease are more prone than others to develop additional autoimmune disorders, and that this is particularly true when the first disease is very active and there is a lot of inflammation. While I believe that RT1640 will induce additional hair growth, I am concerned that such growth will provide “fuel” for the underlying autoimmunity, and “rev”up the system, resulting in more inflammation. As a physician, my first priority is to do no harm. I am concerned that growing hair in patients with alopecia areata will do harm as I described. Therefore, we have no plans to explore this indication.
Having said this, we have some preliminary evidence that RT1640 treatment does restore hair growth in the setting of taxane-induced “permanent alopecia.” These are people that have been treated with taxane drugs to treat cancers- usually breast cancers- and have suffered what has been thought to be an irreversible alopecia. More on this as we learn more.
FT: Will RT1604 be effective on areas of the scalp other than the crown, such as the frontal scalp/hairline?
DW: The distribution of androgenic alopecia is a function of two factors: the concentration of androgen receptors (ARs) and the concentration of the testosterone to DHT conversion enzyme 5AR. There is good evidence that the areas with the highest degree of androgenic alopecia are the areas with the highest concentrations of both ARs and 5AR. Unfortunately, these tend to be at the temple and the crown. We have not studied the effects of RT1640 in enough people to say for sure, however, our anecdotal evidence suggests that our therapy will regrow hair at the temple, and on the crown for certain.
DW: Recent work from Dr. Lu Le the University of Texas has shown that the transcription factor krox20 expressed by cells in the hair follicle is essential for the growth of new hair. Throughout my career I have studied another transcription factor, called Oct6. In every tissue we have ever found Oct6 expression, it is closely associated with the expression of krox20. In fact, krox20 expression is dependent upon cells first expressing Oct6. Our work shows that treatment with RT1640 strongly induces Oct 6 expression. This finding supports our hypothesis that RT1640 treatment induces molecular changes in the hair follicle that drive new hair growth.
Thank you David, for taking the time.
Updated on July 23, 2017
Just when we thought we knew of every company in the world working on hair growth treatments…
With all of the scientific articles on hair biology that continually get published from Asian establishments there was bound to be a few companies springing up at some point. I’m happy to say I’ve got 4 new companies to discuss in this article, most of which have not been previously discussed online. I will make one small disclaimer about these companies, they’re almost all still in the preclinical phase (have not entered phase 1 yet), so they have work to do. What’s most important is scientists from across the globe are working on this thing called hair growth. Let’s see what’s going on for hair research in the world’s largest continent.
1) Taisho Pharmaceutical – This company is mostly unknown to the online hair community, though it’s not completely a secret, as Taisho is one of the sponsors of the World Congress for Hair Research 2017. On the WCHR2017 scientific program you will notice Taisho sponsoring a seminar right in the center of the program layout. Besides having greater notoriety, Taisho also differs from other companies mentioned in this article because its therapy candidate has progressed all the way to a phase 2a trial. TS-133 is the name of Taisho’s therapy and it is listed as a topical medication. What is not clear at this time (and this goes for most others on this list) is whether this drug is being developed for alopecia areata or androgenic alopecia. I have a guess. To reiterate, this is a guess, but I will give the one reason why I made it. Let’s go back to the scientific program I mentioned above. Now, find that Taisho Pharma box in the middle again and take a look at who the speaker is. It’s Dr. Amos Gilhar. A simple search of his name will bring back many publications and studies on alopecia areata, a subject that the Dr. is possibly most well known for. It’s quite possible that Taisho, who has an alopecia drug in trial, has sponsored the seminar with Dr. Gilhar for a reason; meaning their drug is a therapy for alopecia areata. We’ll have to wait until the WCHR to hear more.
2) Hyundai Pharmaceutical Co. – Pretty sure this is not the same company that sells Sonatas and Elantras, but ya never know. I’m most interested in their HTB-005, the company’s candidate for alopecia. Besides the information displayed on Hyundai’s pipeline, there is not much else known about this therapy. One encouraging sign is HTB-005’s mechanism of action is listed as “New” in the pipeline chart. This is where it would typically say something like “PGD2r antagonist” or “Wnt agonist.” It’s most likely for proprietary reasons that Hyundai has left this information out. Like many other drugs on Hyundai’s pipeline, HTB-005 is an IMD or “incrementally modified drug.” A simple definition of an IMD is a “known Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient with modifications made to the drug product.” This means HTB-005 could be derived from any kind of modified drug, not just a drug which was previously used for hair growth. The chart also depicts this therapy has made it through the “proof of concept” stage and is ready to enter a phase 1 clinical trial. Intriguing stuff.
3) Kuhnil Pharmaceutical – The R&D pipeline of Kuhnil Pharma shows not just one, but two candidates for hair loss – KI1104 and KI1105. The wording of “hair loss” as the indication makes me tend to believe these two drugs are being developed for androgenic alopecia. KI1104 is listed at the preclinical stage and KI1105 is a step behind that in the research stage. Both of these therapies are listed as “modified formulation/improved drugs.” This is slightly different wording than “IMD” which we saw earlier, but may mean the same thing. I’m hoping that these two drug candidates are modified from drugs which we are unfamiliar with. Nothing like new hair growth science, ya know?
4) Kunshan RiboQuark Pharmaceutical Technology Co. – This long named entity is the joint venture between Suzhou Ribo Life Science Co. and Quark Pharmaceuticals. Commonly referred to as just “RiboQuark”, the company is developing RNAi therapies for both androgenic and chemotherapy induced alopecia. RNAi stands for RNA interference therapy. RiboQuark has one therapy listed on its pipeline for alopecia, RB-AG010, while Quark shows therapies for both of the alopecia types in its pipeline. Don’t worry about the semantics though, it’s all the same stuff. This research is perhaps the most interesting on this list because we actually know what the technology is based on. It’s a RNAi therapy, and the CEO of Quark Pharma, Dr. Daniel Zurr, has elucidated “We know how to deliver the siRNA to the kidney,…….and even into the hair follicles — to suppress the antigen receptor involved in hair loss.” Sounds clever. siRNA stands for small interfering RNA, also known as silencing RNA, which is essentially a therapy that blocks or silences the expression of certain genes that would cause non-desirable biological conditions. What’s even more interesting, these two therapies are supposedly being developed as cosmetic products in China. The only thing keeping me from flying to China to try to peak in the company’s windows is the fact that this technology is not quite in the preclinical stage yet. So, it will be a little while, but I do look forward to learning more about a precise and cutting edge technology like RiboQuark’s.
Pretty cool, huh? The industry just got a little bigger. Hopefully this will inspire even more ambition from all of the known hair growth players to keep at their goals. I certainly was happy and intrigued to discover these companies and I hope that this knowledge has made you happy too. With all of these companies and so many different approaches being implemented we are ensured some very interesting developments over the next few years.
Updated on September 18, 2017
Discussion has been closed as of 9/18/17
ReBoost user photos with captions below each set of photos.
9-13-17: I have received some more photos of the user “Burak”, who has been active in the comments below. This is the message he gave with the photos, via Google translate some of the message may not be perfectly clear: “I share new pictures I took today. If you look closely at the pictures, especially at the front, there are some hairs much shorter than other prolonged hair. These are not as thin as quince hair, but they are darker and thicker. It is a beautiful thing, but since the middle of first July, I have noticed that these hair grow slower and slower than the others. You and your friends know better than I do, I think if this new hair grows stronger over time, there will be a marked tightening in my head.” While it is important to note that some hairs are always out of sync with others, the description of growth is interesting.
Before ↓ After ↑
9-11-17: These are photo results of a 38 yr old woman from Turkey. The after photos are on top and the before photos are on the bottom. The before photos contain 2 photos with longer dyed hair before shaving her head, and 1 photo when head was shaved to begin ReBoost treatment. She used ReBoost twice a day for about 1.5 months.
8-13-17: These are of photos of Burak who has previously left a comment on this thread. These are at 1 month of use. Burak is happy with his results so far and provided photos with some identifying marks for comparison. I cropped the circles from his hairline area for comparison. The before image is not as high resolution as the after, though the after does show some immature hairs sprouting.
8-8-17: Received these photos today of a 3 month result of a man from Bursa, Turkey. I am going to ask for a newer after photo when this guy cuts his hair again. Update: I received another photo of the man sitting poolside, which is his most recent photo. I believe it compares best with the one I coupled it with. The first photo is his original before, and yes I realize it is shaved much closer. I’d like to get another photo like that to compare but I don’t know if this man will be cutting his hair so short again.
8-4-17: I received these photos today of the same user from the last update. I must say that crown photo is quite impressive. After photos are on the left or the top.
7-13-17: Today I received this photo which was already cropped like this when I got it. This man is from Turkey and has been using ReBoost for 1.5 months. The picture seems to be a “after/before” and I believe the before picture does show thinner hair on the side of the scalp, regardless of length. I’m looking forward to more dramatic results once people have been using the cream for 3+ months.
7-12-17: I received these photos today and I believe they are the same user seen below. Apparently only one user has decided to take photos and send them to Nurcan and Gizem, lol. There are many trying this product so I believe we will see a lot more anecdotes soon, but we’ll take this for now. Once again this a user taking his own photos. This is a result at 2 months 10 days. I definitely feel that there is more terminal hair growth in that center strip in the after photo.
6-16-17: These photos came in today of a guy who has been using the cream for 1.5 months. Not a very conclusive set of photos for sure, having been only 1.5 months. There does seem to be a little more going in after photo.
This message came a long with the photos:
“We will add more pictures and user comments; when we receive more examples from the latest user pictures we’d like to share with the readers of Follicle Thought.
They also invited me to provide my thoughts on these first two sets of photos. First off, the result from the person with alopecia areata totalis is pretty remarkable. Areata is a disease that has the ability to go into remission itself, but that does not seem to be going on here. If there will be another example of someone with alopecia areata that gets similar results to these I think that will be a landmark statement. Second photo (Picture2) with the AGA also looks like a solid result to me. Pretty easy to tell there is clearly thicker caliber hair and a higher number of hairs growing, and at that, from a guy who is basically a NW6. I believe a follicle count comparison of the two photos would be corroborating. I should also mention, I am told these photos were taken by the users themselves and sent to the University.
And for those who have asked in comments, yes I have begun my own trial of ReBoost. I’m over a week in and will be giving feedback around 2-3 months of use. All of you who are also using it, feel free to comment on this article with your own hair observations.
Updated on September 13, 2017
As promised, here is my review of the N2C Hair Cream which I have been trialing for the past 12 months.
I first received the N2C hair cream early last year from a friend of mine who lives in Turkey. He was also trialing the cream. I figured I would give it a shot and see if it could improve my hair situation. After about 3 weeks of use I did notice a benefit to my hair, namely my hair was stronger (did not shed as easily as before usage) and in the area I was observing, the hair appeared a bit healthier. This kept my interest in using the product. Over the course of the next few months I would receive one more bottle from my friend in Turkey before I contacted N2C and received 2 more bottles to continue my trial. In 12 months I have used 4 bottles of the cream.
My N2C Usage
Over the past 12 months I was mainly focused on using this cream at my vertex, or crown, area. This was for several reasons. Among them, the cream itself has a very similar consistency to hand lotion and thus, hair remains a bit oily after the cream is applied. I like my hair to be styled dry to get the most volume out of it, therefore, I did not apply the cream to my entire scalp for every use. I mainly used the cream at my vertex and covered the area with some concealer after applying the cream. On days when I was just hanging around the house I would add a few extra pumps of the cream to my entire scalp. Another reason I focused on my vertex is because visually it was an isolated area for me to observe.
Here’s a rundown of what I have observed over my past year’s use:
- 1 – 3 months. At some point within the first 3 months of use I noticed my hair was stronger than it had been before use of this cream. I remember rubbing the cream in for about a minute (which is actually a long time to rub a cream in your hair) and I would stop and look at my fingers and be amazed, there was no hair on my oily fingers. This happened more than once. I would also occasionally notice a pimple on my scalp from use of the cream, N2C says this is a common side effect; wasn’t a big deal to me.
- 3 – 6 months. Somewhere around the 3 month mark I spoke to N2C company to check in about my progress using the cream. I noted that I was using the cream a few times a week and had observed some benefit to my hair, but nothing dramatic. He advised that I begin using the cream everyday, or as often as possible to see what results could be achieved, so I did.
- 6 – 10 months. During this period I began to apply the cream to one side of my scalp consistently, along with my vertex. The side area I am referring to is above the sideburn and behind the side-hairline. On one side of my head, before I began using the cream, this area had thinned a little bit. During this 6-10 month period while I was applying the cream to my side scalp mostly-consistently, my side scalp area hair thickened to the point where it became similar to the other side again. I feel better about it. My vertex hair continued to improve, but at a slow pace.
- 10 months – Current. At some point over the past 2 months it has finally become clear, there is denser terminal hair growth in my vertex than there was before I began using the cream. I am certain I have achieved an increase in hair density at my crown/vertex area, even if subtly. Before my trial, within my crown area there was a vertical central “strip” area that had the most hair growing compared to the rest of the crown. Since using the cream, this central strip of hair has become noticeably wider, more dense, with more hair growth. I have also noticed there has been growth around edges of my vertex which have started to grow back towards the center, a bit. There are still lighter/thinner areas between the central strip and the edges of my crown. These areas are where there was initially not much hair growth to be thickened.
When I started the trial I did take some pictures of my scalp on the front facing camera of my cell phone. Time would tell me, however, that the pictures I took as “before” images were not precisely done. As time went on, I began taking pictures with another device and realized that the photo results I have are not comparing apples to apples. I’ve looked at my scalp constantly over the past year and am confident that I have seen changes. There are photos of other people’s results on the N2C website.
There is one caveat about using the cream – it needs to be applied to a clean scalp in order for the ingredients to penetrate the surface of the skin. This is foretold by N2C because mild shampoos need to be utilized to leave the scalp clean without leaving a layer of chemical residue on the scalp. N2C recommends washing with a baby shampoo or herbal soap or their own shampoo when using the cream. I decided to go for an organic baby shampoo just to be sure my scalp would have no residue after washing. I did also receive one bottle of the N2C shampoo to use during my trial, but didn’t notice a difference between it and my organic baby shampoo, so I just stuck with the baby shampoo which was easier for me to acquire.
What I believe has happened to my crown hair is the thickening of the diameter of individual hair shafts which had become weaker and the stimulation of the anagen phase in weakened follicles. Another observation worth mentioning is the hair growing in my vertex’s central area has also become longer since I began use. Longer hair is a sign of anagen increase and adds to the visual improvement of hair density. N2C notes that this cream is intended to be used on areas where some hair is growing. It is not intended to lower hairlines or grow hair in completely bald areas.
It took me about 10 months of mostly consistent use to be sure of a visual increase in hair density at my crown. Was it all worth it to me now? Yes, it was. I would not say my results are dramatic, however, the fact that over the past year I have stopped the progression of thinning and even added density to my crown is golden. As a person who does not use minoxidil or finasteride, by personal choice, I was delighted to have found a natural product to help maintain my hair and even increase its density.
About the N2C Hair Cream
The cream is a natural product containing plant extracts and keratin which has been specially treated at a nanotechnology laboratory. Although the cream is treated with a proprietary process at the nano lab, the product does not contain nanoparticles. According to N2C, it is the cream’s ability to penetrate the skin which separates it from the results of other cosmetics.
Updated on June 15, 2017
Welcome to a new edition of Weekly Thoughts. I’ve got some details to share on how things are going at HairClone these days, as well as notions on two promising studies on genes involved in hair growth. One of the studies has had the internet ablaze lately with KROX talk. It’s surely a wonderful discovery, though it may be some time before we hear more about it. The other gene therapy discussed is a bit more of a surprise. Let’s see what’s going on.
The HairClone Zone
Over a month ago, a video was released through a local Texas news station detailing the current progress of HairClone. The video features Dr. Ken Williams, a clinical partner of HairClone, discussing the option of administering HairClone’s new technique on one of his patients. Video seen below: Read More
Updated on May 18, 2017
Two days ago, I received an email from one of my readers which informed me that Follicum had just made an announcement about important developments that would be of interest to me. Upon further investigation, I found the Follicum website (only on the “Swedish” content) had put out a press release pertaining to the results of their candidate FOL-005 in its latest phase 1/2a trial. Read More
Updated on June 30, 2017
It is good to be back for another Weekly Thoughts. This edition is headlined by an anti-aging technology from The Netherlands that has shown interesting regenerative effects on mice. I even got some exclusive info on the potential of this technology to be applied to hair growth to share with you. Also, we get an update on how Replicel’s treatment has faired on people’s scalps five years after the injections. And while we are still looking forward to an update on a particular hair cream coming out of Turkey, I have some good news about another cosmetic hair cream that may be of interest. Read More
Updated on May 18, 2017
Welcome to another edition of Weekly Thoughts. I’ve been looking for some significant info to share with you all and today I came across just that. I expect this news to create quite a positive ripple in the hair enthusiast crowd. Let’s see what’s going on.
Dr. Bessam Farjo tweeted this photo today:
— Dr Bessam Farjo (@BessamFarjo) February 4, 2017
Updated on May 18, 2017
I’ve got a good feeling about 2017…
For the past several years we have been pacified by the news of a research study or startup company working on a treatment that grows hair. Ultimately, we would prefer the treatment in our hands, but reading about it on a computer screen has been supportive as well. It’s something we can think of throughout the day or in a quiet moment which helps to release a little more serotonin in the brain. However, the time has to come for a treatment to be made available for us all and I believe that 2017 is going to be that year. This will mostly take place in the cosmetic market, but the treatments should be worthwhile. Read More
Updated on February 11, 2017
Hey everybody, welcome to another edition of Weekly Thoughts. This week I touch on two topicals that have been at the forefront of hair growth enthusiasts’ attention this past year. Also, I take a look at an intriguing healthcare legislation that was just passed this week in the United States.
Remember when Kelopesia burst onto the scene earlier this year? Man, that was a hoot. It was slated as a new ‘stem cell-conditioned media’ cream which would be available by the end of April in Turkey. Well, turns out that was not the way it happened. We’re not quite sure what lead to the delay, but that’s not really important anymore. What’s important is that we are actually close to the re-scheduled release date of Kelopesia. This past week I decided it was a good time to get an update from Yeditepe University. Read More