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).
One thing that’s changed since I last heard from BMD is that their therapeutics aimed at different models of alopecia have now been made the priority at the company. I could elaborate further, but instead I’ll let BiologicsMD CEO David Owens explain more:
“We did update our website to move away from outwardly communicating on our programs in bone repair and spinal fusion because we are lowering our priority on those development assets until we complete some of our NIH grants. We have now prioritized alopecia as our main interest for moving our company forward. We are very impressed with our data in animal models of alopecia areata and chemotherapy-induced alopecia and are very hopeful that mechanism of action will translate into androgenic alopecia as well. As you are probably very aware, animal models of androgenic alopecia are not well defined and have been misleading in the past. We want to try and advance that science as well. We are fully committed to alopecia now and hope to be able to raise the money to move our company forward.”
Well, +1 for the alopecia community. We’re happy to hear that these promising peptides are now the center of attention at BiologicsMD. Furthermore, I was interested to know how BMD planned on helping define animal models of androgenic alopecia, so I did what any dedicated and ingenious journalist would do – I asked them. This response was a bit more technical and required the know-how of BMD’s Chief Scientific Officer, Robyn Goforth, PhD. She explained:
“Currently there are no readily available animal models of androgenic alopecia; a previously developed mouse model of androgenic alopecia was not maintained (see Endocrinology. 2010 May;151(5):2373-80. doi: 10.1210/en.2009-1474. Epub 2010 Mar 16.). However, for hair-cycle stimulators such as BMD-1141, much has been learned about the mechanism of action on restoring hair growth through animal models of different types of hair-loss (drug induced, alopecia areata, and waxed models). For hair-cycle stimulators, testing efficacy in multiple animal models, and perhaps in a restored androgenic alopecia mouse model, can be coupled with data from early clinical trials to help establish how currently available animal models may improve the scientific understanding and utility of treatments for androgenic alopecia.”
i.e. They’re the real deal.
What They’re Working With
So what is this technology all about? For starters, we’re talking about therapeutic recombinant fusion proteins. From the BMD website: The first pharmaceutical protein, PTH-CBD™, is the fusion of the active domain of parathyroid hormone (amino acids 1-33) coupled to a collagen binding domain derived from ColH collagenase. The collagen binding domain (CBD) allows for the protein to distribute to the skin where the PTH (1-33) domain stimulates the hair follicles and restores hair growth. There you have it. They had me at “stimulates the hair follicles.”
Currently, Robyn Goforth is working on a topical formulation of liposomal delivery for the larger peptides or proteins which need a way to transport across the skin barrier to enter the epidermal layers where the hair follicles reside. BMD has been successful in getting their proteins to the hair follicle layer in previous experiments and is now optimizing the formulation for all of their therapeutic candidates for alopecia.
Speaking of Opportunity
For those industry financialists that are savvy enough to be on Follicle Thought looking for a good candidate treatment to invest in, first off, kudos. Secondly, I think you’ll want to take a closer look at this:
The company is developing not one, but three treatments to address different types of alopecia; alopecia areata, androgenic alopecia, and chemotherapy induced hair loss. That’s a broad market not including the company’s pending bone growth therapeutic pipeline.
BiologicsMD, we’re happy to have you aboard.