2016: A Look Ahead

Here we are in a new year which is always a good thing for technological advancements.

I’m going to get right into things here with a look at the hair technology happenings I am most looking forward to in 2016:

1. Samumed’s Phase II efficacy results. Samumed has probably had the smoothest development progress of any hair growth medication I’ve heard of. Samumed recently completed the phase 2 trial for its topical hair growth product SM04554 in November 2015. Dr. Yazici, the Chief Medical Officer of Samumed, is quoted in their latest press release below.

“The Phase II safety and efficacy data so far are very promising and support moving this program into pivotal studies.  We are analyzing the efficacy data further and plan to present results of both preclinical and clinical studies at upcoming medical conferences.”

The key points here are that the efficacy data is very promising, and promising enough to initiate the phase 3 trial which will be the final trial needed to enable the commercialization of SM04554.

2. Shiseido’s trial for approval in Japan. By the end of January, I anticipate that Shiseido will have commenced its first trial in Japan for RCH-01, its cellular hair growth therapy . RCH-01 is the technology which has been developed by Replicel using a person’s own cultured dermal papilla cells. Lee Buckler of Replicel has announced that Shiseido will be initiating their trial very soon. We also know that if all goes well with Shiseido’s first trial of RCH-01 in Japan, they will be able to offer the treatment to the public while they are completing later stage trials for RCH-01. That means anyone in the world can book a flight to Japan and get some hair growth injections. Woohoo.

3. Histogen announcing trial in Mexico. We don’t know for sure yet if Mexico will be the first official destination for Histogen’s HSC. If it is though, that’d be cool, because Mexico is a lot closer to me than Japan or Turkey. We know that Gail Naughton of Histogen has been evaluating the best location to initiate the final study for the approval of HSC. We will know that location this year, and hopefully very soon.

4. Follicum Phase I trial. One of my favorite treatments in development right now, Follicum’s FOL-S-005, will begin its first trial for hair growth in the 1st quarter of 2016. Follicum’s product is a topical peptide gel, and has shown pretty remarkable results in pre-clinical animal models. It’s my opinion that Follicum has been sort of “slept on” so far online, I believe that will change this year. The trials will take place in Berlin, Germany. Follicum has previously said that it would announce recruitment availability for the trial.

5. DP Cell Culturing 10 Year Trial Completion. This study is just about ambiguous as it gets in the hair research world. We don’t know the formalities of the trial or if any progress has been made over the years. Nonetheless, this trial is very intriguing and could possibly contain some significant results within it. The trial is designed to study cultured dermal papilla cells which are injected into the scalp to induce hair growth. It’s a study that has been ongoing since at least 2007 and is scheduled to be completed in December 2016. The most significant part of this study is the methods being utilized here are from the work of Dr. Colin Jahoda, one of the most renowned and longest tenured hair follicle researchers in the world. A real hidden gem is that Dr. Jahoda recently updated his patent for dermal papilla culturing alongside Angela Christiano in August 2015. That could be good news for this study.

6. The Wildcard. The proverbial out-of-nowhere legitimate product that can be brought to market in a very short amount of time. Last year, we had a great example of one in Follicept, which was a potential homerun and could have reached the market in the same year it was announced. Things did not pan out for Follicept the way everyone had hoped, but there is potential that this product could still turn out to be useful someday. We hope to see a new Wildcard in 2016.

7. Bag of goodies. Some updates that I expect to see from treatments that show great potential are: JAK inhibitors and other Dr. Christiano research, Bimatoprost for scalp, Breezula anti-androgen, Clinica CFS Stem Cell Transfer, and Theracell.

Let’s keep good cheer up in 2016 for updates on all of these promising treatments and a few good wildcards.

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