Updated on February 16, 2017
Follica Moves Forward, Thorn Medical: Weekly Thoughts 4/17/16
Hey there everybody, nice to see you all again. In this edition of Weekly Thoughts we find a new company with some ambiguous, yet noteworthy, claims about their hair growth technology, an update on Follica’s new pivot, and some background information on Samumed’s founder and CEO.
Thorn Medical Makes Big Claim
Last week, a press release by Thorn Medical PLC caused quite a stir for hair seekers on the internet. In summation, the press release stated that Thorn Medical had partnered with IK Clinics founder Dr. Irum Khan to bring forth a stem cell treatment which will be a complete cure for pattern baldness. So far, no other information besides the press release has been presented. However, I seem to have discovered something that has not been discussed online thus far.
Dr. Irum Khan already offers “Stem Cell FUE” at her clinic which appears to be FUE hair transplants combined with adipose (fat) derived stem cell injections. It’s a pretty good idea, but it is something that is already available to consumers in multiple countries (including the US). The interesting part of the press release is a quote from the Executive Director of Thorn Medical, Dr. Mahmood Bashir, who stated “Although current techniques are still in their infancy, with only 10% of the new hair follicles cultured remaining alive, we can culture sufficient quantities in the lab to provide a complete cure for male pattern baldness.” Thorn has not been specific in detailing what type of stem cell procedure they will be offering for hair growth, but that quote implies that they are growing hair follicles in test tubes.
So, here’s where I believe this is at. Thorn Medical is either getting ready to promote Dr. Khan’s status quo method of providing FUE + fat stem cell therapy, OR they actually have developed a new groundbreaking hair follicle cloning treatment using stem cells. One of the two. The latter would be a lot more interesting to all of us. We don’t know, and they haven’t told us. They obviously are aware of their communication style thus far and are not going to release more information until they are ready to. Keep an eye on it, see how it goes.
Follica Gives a Peak at the Future
PureTech Health, the parent company of Follica, has recently released their Annual Report for the year 2015. The report provides information for potential investors, which includes PureTech’s plans for 2016 and beyond. In the Follica section of the report (page 31 of the PDF) there is mention that Follica plans to initiate a new clinical study for its hair growth therapy in the 2nd half of 2016 with results to be obtained in 2017. If the results are positive, Follica would potentially seek FDA clearance in 2017, for a commercial release in 2018. (Shoutouts to Xaser94, I see you bro)
For those that may not be aware, Follica is a company that is developing methods for growing hair through micro-wounding the scalp and then adding compounds to the wounds to enhance hair growth. The Annual Report mentions that Follica’s skin disruption method was tested previously in a clinical study with minoxidil added to the wounds and was found to grow 4x the amount of hair compared to just using minoxidil as a treatment alone.
Remember, in this press release Follica stated it was developing an out-patient therapy coupled with an at-home system for growing hair. So, it sounds like they are working on a therapy in which a patient receives a skin disruption treatment at a clinic with an additional special compound applied and then continues the treatment at home, probably using a proprietary dermaroller and topical formula. I’m hoping that Follica has got something a little better than just minoxidil, though. We’ll see.
Samumed’s CEO Featured in Forbes
A good candidate for most interesting man in the world, Dr. Osman Kibar CEO of Samumed, was recently featured in a well written article for Forbes Magazine. The article highlights Kibar’s potential treatment for hair regrowth (SM04554), but does not provide new information about the treatment’s efficacy. The article does, however, disclose a few new interesting tidbits about the technology. I was surprised to know that the same molecule in SM04554 may turn gray hair back to its original color. The article also mentions that this same molecule may be used in a small cosmetic dose to erase wrinkles on the skin.
I was also very surprised to find out in the article that Samumed is valued at $12 billion. Kibar has a net worth of around $4 billion. Let’s hope that both of those valuations increase because of Samumed bringing its wonder hair drug to the market.
Until next time, be well.