Updated on May 18, 2017
2017: A Look Ahead
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.
- You knew it was coming on this list. The acclaimed, enigmatic, and exceptionally Italian: Brotzu Lotion. As of January 2017, the product is reportedly still in clinical trial. Once the trial is finished Fidia Pharma will decide how to move forward with the product. There are tons of reasons to believe that this product will be a great success as far as cosmetic treatments go. One question that supports that belief is: how many products/research studies have been acquired by pharmaceutical companies and put through human trials in the past 10 years? If you’re new to the subject you may read more on the back story of the Brotzu Lotion by reviewing these articles.
*Update* Fidia Pharma has finally released an official communication on their website about the Brotzu Lotion. The news was a bit of a curveball. Fidia has targeted 2018 as a release date for this lotion. While this is unexpected news (many thought the lotion would be available in 2017) the fact that this product exists in the first place is still reason for cheer.
- Turkish Delight. The stem-cell derived cosmetic cream which was actually slated to be released last year at this time: Kelopesia. The research that led to this product was done at Yeditepe University and was lead by Dr. Fikrettin Sahin. And yes, this is the cream that involves using cellular derivatives from newborn foreskins. Why is that, might you ask? Well, the cells that are extracted from the newborn foreskins are still in a state where they are very potent for growth and tissue generation. Let’s just leave it at that for now (laughs) and celebrate this potential breakthrough. This product should be released in Turkey within the first Q2017. Keep your eyes peeled on Ebay.
- As of now Kelopesia is set for release in 2017. However, there is always the possibility for one of these
‘Wild cards’ are products that emerge all of the sudden, show good promise, and are said to be made available shortly after their announcement. Stay tuned everyone 🙂
2017 will be a great year for hair growth cosmetic products. On the clinical side of things, it is somewhat of an ‘in-betweener’ year. Most of the highly anticipated therapies, including Shiseido and Tsuji/Organ Technologies, will still be in a trial process or R&D phase all the way through 2017. However, we will be getting trial results from many treatments. The trial results do give us valuable information about how the treatments are shaping up and they are necessary for the treatments to move forward. Here’s the most significant clinical trials for hair growth that will be taking place in 2017:
- I was surprised to see them in this spot myself, but here they are. Follica is set to begin a phase 3 clinical trial in 2017. Or, maybe they already have begun this trial. Follica is kind of like the “Carmen Sandiego” of hair growth companies so no one really knows except for them. We know the phase 3 trial will happen in 2017. Pending results, this trial can lead to FDA approval for Follica. If all goes well Follica is aiming to put their micro wounding + compounds treatment for hair growth on the market in 2018. The treatment is now being titled as “RAIN” according to PureTech’s pipeline page. Does anyone know what the acronym stands for yet? My guess is “rejuvenate and induce neogenesis.”
- It’s electric. HairCell, the surprising company that was incepted by Howard Leonhardt in 2016 will be initiating its human pilot study in early 2017. The treatment involves wearing a bioelectric device on your head with stimulators that send signals to the cells of your body to repair and regenerate itself. This cap is also coupled with a micro-pump containing electro-acupuncture needles that inject stem cells/growth factors into the scalp. The entire concept is highly unique and advanced and I am a big fan. I look forward to hearing more about this human pilot study.
- Getting set. Results from the setipiprant phase 2a trial. More hair follicle research stemming from the work of Dr. George Cotsarelis, setipiprant is an oral medication that is intended to halt hair loss and thicken existing hair. The drug is a prostaglandin D2 receptor antagonist and was originally developed for inflammatory conditions such as asthma. However, when Dr. Cotsarelis found that the PGD2 receptor plays a significant role in hair growth, he patented that use and suddenly PGD2r drugs that were shelved became useful again. Kythera Biophrama decided to take a crack at it and licensed the use of setipiprant to treat hair loss. Because of the drug’s previous clinical trial involvement Kythera was allowed to start setipiprant at a phase IIa trial for androgenic alopecia. Since the time Kythera began this development of setipiprant their company was acquired by Allergan. This trial is set to complete in September 2017 and will compare results from setipiprant alongside finasteride to gauge its effectiveness. I find that comparison interesting.
- The dynamic duo. Allergan is also anticipating the phase I results of their new and improved bimatoprost formula for the scalp. Bimatoprost was originally developed for glaucoma and later used to enhance eyelash growth. If it can grow eyelashes then it can probably grow hair, right? Right. Apparently, the bimatoprost scalp formula has recently been enhanced to promote even greater hair growth and hence they have begun another phase I trial. This trial should bear results sometime after October 2017.
- Just maybe. Last year it seemed likely that right about now Histogen would be gearing up for the 2017 market release of its Hair Stimulating Complex in Mexico. Lately, the company has been quiet about the potential of releasing HSC in Mexico. The HSC treatment still needs to go through a phase 3 trial for approval in Mexico, and if Histogen plans to release the product in 2017, that trial would have to begin very shortly. We know Histogen made some notable business developments in China in the 2nd half of 2016, if they will do the same in Mexico still remains to be seen. Veremos.
- River of Hope. RiverTown Therapeutics Inc. is hoping to push forward with their phase 1b/2a trial this year. Getting the trial in place only depends on the company raising the necessary funds to finance the trial. RT1640 is RiverTown’s lead candidate for hair regeneration. The drug is composed of three agents: minoxidil, cyclosporine A, and a novel molecule called RT175. The RT175 molecule is said to promote the growth and migration of stem cells to the hair follicle, which multiplies the effects of both minoxidil and cyclosporine A, resulting in hair follicle regeneration. The company has previously shared some impressive photographs on Follicle Thought displaying what RT1640 is capable of. Keep in mind these results came from a very small number of subjects who used the treatment for a short period of time. The potential is big here. Let’s see something great develop for RT in 2017.
- A clone like no other. HairClone of the UK is taking a unique approach to bring a next generation hair growth treatment to market. They are marketing the treatment to work in conjunction with hair transplants, they are utilizing crowd funding, and they are taking advantage of an innovative opportunity to get this treatment to patients very quickly. The most important factor here is that through a special medical designation in the UK known as “Specials”, HairClone will be able to make their treatment available to patients prior to going through a clinical trial process. Under the guidelines of Specials, a doctor in the UK will have the discretion to prescribe a treatment like HairClone for an unmet medical need; in this case it would be hair loss. If HairClone secures the funding to move things forward they can begin administering cellular treatments to patients in the year 2017!
One of the greatest things about turning a new year: the announcement of new companies. Last year was fruitful in this category and I expect 2017 to be even more exciting. Most of the new companies that we will see emerge in 2017 will come from names that we are familiar with. Here’s what to look for on the horizon in 2017:
- Rapunzel. You’ve heard it mentioned here before. Rapunzel is the latest startup company of Angela Christiano that seeks to bring an injectable cellular treatment (using 3D cultured cells) to the clinical setting. Anyone who spends a bit of time reading up on hair follicle research knows that Angela Christiano is about the biggest name in the hair research industry. She has studied gene therapy, JAK inhibitors, cell culturing, and other areas of hair biology. The only other researcher who has probably spent more time studying the 3D culturing of hair cells would be Dr. Colin Jahoda. And oh, guess what? Colin Jahoda is teaming up with Christiano for Rapunzel. Booya.
- Tissuse. The German biotech company which is a spinout of the Technical University of Berlin is finally moving forward with its hair follicle multiplication work. This is evident from Tissuse’s recently updated website displaying a page for “Smart Hair Transplants.” The entire treatment process of SHT is not yet described on their website, though it does mention “extracting 30 hair follicles (via FUE) from the donor scalp to create 10,000 neopapillae (baby hair follicles).” This just sounds incredible to hear, my imagination runs wild with possibilities. Man, is it just me or is the hair industry getting so big it’s not that easy to remember all of them now? It’s certainly a welcomed situation that we are at.
Let me thank you all for your support and being readers of the site. It is great to hear positive feedback from those of you who take a moment to share a few words on the site. As you can see, the hair growth treatment landscape is really turning into something that we all hoped it would for so long. Here’s to an amazing 2017 and hair growth success for the world. Cheers