Hair-Raising Follica Study Could Point to Baldness Therapy

Xconomy Boston — 

[Updated, 11:00 am ET] Few stories have struck a chord with Xconomy’s readership quite like that of Follica, the PureTech Ventures-incubated startup founded in 2006 with plans to combat male and female pattern baldness by using adult stem cells to grow new hair follicles. Unfortunately, details regarding Follica’s science—let alone its clinical progress—have been as tough to spot as a good toupee.

Boston-based Follica and the man behind its technology—University of Pennsylvania stem cell biologist George Cotsarelis— at least partially lifted the lid (or wig?) on those secrets today with two announcements: First, a research team led by Cotsarelis has identified a key protein that could potentially be used therapeutically to help people grow new hair follicles; Cotsarelis has published the results of that study in Nature Medicine. Secondly, Follica claims to have used its technology in a procedure that successfully grew new hair follicles in humans in a clinical trial. [An earlier version of this story indicated that Follica used that protein, Fgf9, in its clinical trial. Olle later clarified that the protein, Fgf9, has only been involved in Follica’s preclinical work so far].

Even so, a number of questions remain. Follica provided little else in terms of specifics—for example, how many people are in the trials, where they took place, the extent of those results, exactly what its next study will look like, or roughly how long it will take for these findings to turn into a real live procedure sold on the market. It is similarly evasive as to the details of the procedure it is devising.

“We’ve had to be careful about how we deliver the news because there’s all these huge responses,” says Follica co-founder and PureTech principal Bernat Olle.

For those new to the Follica story, here’s the synopsis: Research that Cotsarelis conducted at his lab at Penn showed that new hair follicles would form at the center of some skin wounds. The general concept is that when the top layers of the skin are removed, the skin cells underneath are essentially in a primitive, embryonic state at which they can form new skin, new hair follicles, and ultimately new hair. Follica’s quest has been to devise a procedure-drug combination to take advantage of that window of time and direct the cells to form new hair follicles.

Now Cotsarelis appears to have found the catalyst that could potentially turn that idea into a treatment. Cotsarelis and his team have homed in on a protein known as fibroblast growth factor 9, or Fgf9, that they believe to be implicated in the growth of hair follicles. Fgf9—which is found in short supply in humans, according to Olle—is part of a family of proteins formed by cells in the skin that perform a variety of biological functions such as wound healing. The researchers found in the study that cells produce a lot of Fgf9 right before a new hair follicle forms on a layer of skin. So by increasing Fgf9 while the skin is regenerating, researchers could potentially direct the skin to form new hair follicles.

“It draws a very clear link between tissue regeneration and the skin immune system,” Olle says. “It opens the way to therapeutically intervene in humans with the approach.”

Follica’s idea, then, is to use its proprietary devices—around which Olle says the company has a broad group of patents—to induce this process to occur, and then add Fgf9. What this would lead to, in theory, is a hair-raising procedure: a doctor would use a device specifically created by Follica to remove the top layers of the skin in a targeted area of hair loss. (Olle says the procedure isn’t painful, but the area could be numbed anyway.) While the skin is in this state, the doctor would then apply a drug. Olle declined to specify what type of drug this would be, whether that drug would contain fgf9, or if the procedure/drug combination would induce the body to produce fgf9 on its own. He did say, though, that the company has been doing a lot of work with topical formulations that are applied directly to the skin.

Follica said in its statement that it has already done preclinical tests that combine devices it has created to disrupt the skin with several unspecified “known and novel drugs.” It also claims to have run “a series” of human clinical trials, including a mid-stage study that has caused new hair follicles to be produced in humans. Unfortunately for our rabid readers, however, Olle and Follica aren’t offering many details from these studies, other than to indicate that the platform is proving to work so far and that the research has paved the way for the company’s next step: to try a specific device configuration with a specific, well-known and studied drug (meaning it wouldn’t have to be as extensively tested as a new chemical) in a group of human patients.

“We’ve been able to consistently show that we crate substantial new hair follicles in humans, and that’s something that no other approach in hair loss as far as I am aware has been able to achieve,” Olle says. “That’s a critical step. The goal of some of those early trials has been to test the hypothesis of the mechanism that we had seen in mice.”

Follica would still have to determine in longer trials and follow-ups with patients, for example, how long the new hair lasts so as to know if patients would have to get another procedure down the road.

Olle and PureTech managing partner Daphne Zohar co-founded Follica in late 2006 along with Cotsarelis, Harvard Medical School dermatologist Rox Anderson, and Vera Price, the director of the University of California, San Francisco Hair Research Center. Kirk Raab, the former CEO of Genentech, is the company’s chairman. William Ju, a board certified dermatologist who formerly worked at Merck Research Laboratories, Pharmacia, and PTC Therapeutics, became CEO in May 2009. The company has raised $19 million in financing through two rounds since its inception, according to Olle.

The interest in Follica’s pursuit has been enormous at Xconomy. Put it this way: our last story was written in 2011 and it is still serving as a defacto message board on the topic. Some 2,000 comments have been posted. That, if nothing else, shows the intense interest surrounding the company’s work.

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550 responses to “Hair-Raising Follica Study Could Point to Baldness Therapy”

  1. McJ says:

    Thanks Xconomy! Knew you’d come through with some further info. This is definitely a positive step forwards. We’re all rooting for you Follica!

  2. Artista says:

    Very Positive!! Thank you Xconomy once again.. Hey McJ i had posted your earlier Follica item here on the other Website

  3. Nik says:

    Follica, my hopes are with you. Best of luck to you science heroes.

  4. Shooter says:

    I honestly thought this research was dead. Not even going to lie. Having said that, I’m glad these guys are still moving along (albeit at a slower pace than initially anticipated). I hope they’ll let us know when we can sign up for future clinical trials! I believe very cautious optimism and a large dose of good luck is warranted. Our hopes are with you, Follica!

    • Curious says:

      Right there with you. Thought you were gone as well! Glad to see you’re still around for what it’s worth.

  5. A says:

    Wow i truly thought this place was dead since i stopped posting in 2010.
    Here is some good news and hopefully we will know more soon

  6. John says:

    Did they mention pdg2/gpr44 blockers in their clinical trials?

  7. tk says:

    After the Histogen disapointment, what a pleasant surprise this is!

    The big question remains though: what is the density of the hair that was grown in humans? If it’s anything over 30 hairs per cm2, this could be a real cure.

    Not counting on it, but looks good nonetheless.

    Wow! Follica seems far from dead!

  8. Aleluia says:

    They´re alive!!
    Very good news

  9. Lurker says:

    I never lost the hope in these guys. Does anyone know what clinical stage they are in “officially” then?

  10. herzog says:

    I’m happily eating crow right now, though it seems they havent run tests on this Fgf9. All their clinical tests thus far have been on WNT proteins. It seems Fgf9 is a more potent factor in hair loss, but their clinical trials will have to start fresh. Hopefully they can move quick as the drug in question is already approved for other usage.

  11. Curious says:

    This the new place to keep the conversation going?

  12. Lurker says:

    Herzog raises a very interesting and important point on clinical trials. I’m not certain he’s correct though that they need to start fresh. I remain confused on whether they have or have not begun clinical trials with Fgf9 and what stage. I admit ignorance to whether one would have to begin anew if they try a similar approach with a new compound (like Fgf9). But, these articles are confusing in that they “imply” they’ve begun trials (with Fgf9), where other articles (and discussions) seem to be talking about their old trials and they’ll need to start “fresh”. Bottom line – I’d like to know for certain whether they are in clinical trials and what stage from the company themselves. This seems to be a noteworthy question, which isn’t clear from these articles.

    • McJ says:

      This article was updated to clarify that point;

      ‘An earlier version of this story indicated that Follica used that protein, Fgf9, in its clinical trial. Olle later clarified that the protein, Fgf9, has only been involved in Follica’s preclinical work so far.’

      To be perfectly honest there is no point in speculating how long or what stage they are at as they’re not going to tell us, certainly not in the near term.

      As many have admitted, most thought Follica dead and that was largely based on the fact that they were quiet. We can all start the idle speculation again based on assumptions or gut feelings or we can just let these folks work diligently and quietly in the shadows. When they’re ready to shed light on their work, they will. They’ve done it partially already and I’m confident that they’ll keep us informed when the time is right. These guys are professionals and more importantly they’ve got credibility. I’ll take diligent and quiet over shaky time-lines and even shakier claims.

      It’s the waiting game.and that kinda sucks but we’ve just heard some very positive news. Judging from the quotes from this article, they are serious about finding either a lasting or long term solution to hair loss. I’m sure there are more hurdles to come but I think we just have to have a little bit of faith in these guys.

      • Lurker says:

        Thanks for pointing that out. I didn’t see that. Although my gut probably sides with what you and Herzog are insinuating, my question isn’t completely answered though. My question is do they really have to start from scratch (clinically) based on the Fgf9 “inclusion”? Olle doesn’t really answer that. And I still believe it’s a relevant question, despite knowing they may not want to answer it.

        I do think there’s reason to “for us” (as sideline viewers) to try to answer this question: Does one “definitively” have to start from scratch if they add “one” new variable during clinical trials? I don’t know the answer. I assume the answer is yes, but the process will be quicker. If that’s the case, so be it That’s probably what you assume too. But, it’s an assumption and I was wondering if there were an people more experienced than I am who can more concretely answer the question.

        As for your other comments, I’ve been involved in this forum on Follica pretty much since day 1 – over half a decade ago. Like others who have done the same, I wouldn’t have kept coming back to search for them here and elsewhere had I not “had a little bit of faith in these guys”. I sincerely thought they were the answer simply because Cots was involved with them. They made a goal of getting something to market about 5 years after they began. That’s ironically, right about now. Since then, however, Cots has come up with independent research, that to me was great, but a little concerning regarding his linkage with Follica. This provides more proof, he’s still on board in 2013 and they’re not dead. It’s great news. But, greedy soul that I am – sure, I do want to know more if I can. So, now, it’s about 5 years later from Follica’s birth, give or take. Where does this thing stand exactly in terms of when it could be introduced – 5 more years? Less? I understand there are hurdles with the FDA and I also understand we know very, very little of the inner workings within the company. We don’t know what they know. For all we know, this is all part of their market strategy. Maybe they are in clinical trials approaching stage III or IV with this?

        Asking a question isn’t uncovering a mass secret that could sink the company. If it’s a dumb question, so be it. I can handle that. But, to me, it seems like it’s a worthwhile question. Do they definitively need to start at Stage I? I don’t know that quote answers the question.

        • herzog says:

          It sounds like they know exactly what they’re doing. It sounds like preclinical studies with Fgf9 had the desired effect and grew hair. They have their abrasion technology patented and ready to go. They now just need to go through the proper regulatory channels.

          Phase I will be a small study to prove safety and proof of concept. Phase II will recruit a lot more people to get the dosage right and check efficacy. Those back to back should take at least 2 years. Phase III usually takes the longest, which is regulatory approval from the FDA. However, if the drug they test is already proven safe and used for other purposes then we could get a fast track. My hopeful estimate is 3 years, but we are more than likely back into that old “five year” cliche.

          That said, things look promising. Just a waiting game, as McJ said.

          • Lurker says:

            Yeh. I guess I’m just confused on why the ‘past five years’ gets tossed out. I mean the article above says “Follica claims to have used its technology in a procedure that successfully grew new hair follicles in a humans in a clinical trial”. Of course, then they go on to say that Fgf9 was not used in that trial. But, later they hint that Fgf9 may not be “used” it may be created by something else. Later, they talk about a drug that’s already passed regulations as the new variable. So, still, I remain confused as to why several of you are so certain they “start from scratch” via trials. It seems they did a lot already with the technique. Now, maybe they try a new compound with the technique. But, maybe they don’t? Maybe their just publishing findings, which will be referred back to post market- intro. Another important quote is “It also claims to have run “a series” of human clinical trials,
            including a mid-stage study that has caused new hair follicles to be
            produced in humans.” – Yet, they start at Stage 1? I honestly think Follica may be careful about revealing info on timelines for several reasons, some other than monetary. For example, they may be concerned that some idiots will try to do what they are doing themselves and harm themselves. I mean, just go to hairlosstalk to see this behavior in action. So, maybe they are kinda saying – “hey guys, we know you’re desperate, but don’t put Fgf9 on your head. You’re not Doctors “. Also, maybe they don’t want to say it, but Fgf9 isn’t exogenous, it’s endogenous? Maybe the endogeneity and the drug that’s mentioned will make the drug obvious. If that’s true, this thing maybe close to market already. This is just part of why I’m confused. Oh well, I should probably just shut my yap and get use to it. ;)

        • McJ says:

          Oh, hey man I’m with ya – I’d love to know more about timelines from Follica. I’d love way more answers. The ‘When will we get this’ part still nags at me.

          And it certainly wasn’t a dumb question and I wasn’t trying to imply that but I was speaking more broadly about those sort of questions. There’s a guy (or gal, I’m not sure) called ‘disappointed’ who seems to have a good inside knowledge of biotech. He’d be the one to give a reasonably knowledgeable answer.

          It’s just at times, really judging from the last board, that people – and I include myself in this – get carried away with emotion and start spouting dumb speculation. I can see Follica going quiet again for a year and folks start saying ‘Follica are dead’ again. That gets annoying but I get why folks do that and it’s just pure frustration.

          The only thing I can add to the conversation at this point in time was what the author of the article pointed this out;

          ‘the research has paved the way for the company’s next step: to try a specific device configuration with a specific, well-known and studied drug (meaning it wouldn’t have to be as extensively tested as a new chemical) in a group of human patients.’

          That ‘extensively tested’ part would seem to hint that we wouldn’t have as long to wait. Maybe, if all goes well but that’s just slight informed speculation. It’s still speculation. They aint gonna tell us as you know but I’m getting to be ok with that because this latest announcement restored the faith – faith that had been wavering.

  13. Lurker says:

    This patent is from 2009/2010. Open it up and search for Fgf9. They were using it then.

  14. Curious says:

    Hey Lurker. So I just read through this long list and figured that not adding to the long tabs that you have to keep clicking regarding where Follica is at. As McJ said, let’s not get to speculating whether that be the timeline or the actual procedure.
    With that said, here is my opinion after watching these forums freak out at this type of news. My guess is that Follica failed with their last procedure and went back looking for ways to improve or where problems occurred. They found that this new Fgf9 was something that may be affecting the outcome so they tried it in pre-clinical trials (or some drug that affects it). My guess right now is with every “we have found the cure” is that it is in pre-clinical trials that still needs to pass through phase 1-3 before becoming commercialized.
    Let’s say that it is using a drug that is already being widely used for a different purpose. All that means is that the Phase 1 trials which deal with safety will be easily passed as the drug already has been vetted for safety. What it doesn’t pass is phase 2 and 3 which are the longest parts of the trials and deal with efficacy. What we get with that is that we shave off a year of trial period at most (if the FDA says that a safety trial is not necessary). In the end, they still need to test efficacy to see if it is marketable.
    That said, I think that they really feel that they have something with this new treatment but really if all they have is a few patients that have responded well they still need to see if it works on a mass scale. I once read somewhere that a guy had burned the top of his head with some hot liquid or something like that and ended up growing back a significant amount of hair afterwards. I feel like that is still where we are at with Follica, we have a procedure that has worked for a few people but honestly… until I see some better data I won’t be pouring any hot liquids on my head, if you get my drift. Let’s hope Follica has some good stuff here but don’t take their ultra secret silence as a noble thing… they weren’t talking because their last trials failed. Now they have something new to talk about so they are talking… yet they don’t have a cure.

  15. ZZ says:

    Some thoughts & observations:

    Timelines: We have seen many discoveries of pieces of the puzzle as as well as pre-clinical and early stage trials indicating possibilities of future success but we have never seen a “breakthru”. So any timeline projections based on these prospects have been little more than wishful thinking. Any timeline would have to include a period of time for actually finding an effective approach (the hard part) and then the requisite remaining time period for FDA approval (depending upon where you are in the trial process when you discover the “breakthur”). This may be the “breakthru” that allows us to legitimately start the timeline clock running. I base that on this quote by Olle: “We’ve been able to consistently show that we create substantial new hair follicles in humans, and that’s something that no other approach in hair loss as far as I am aware has been able to achieve,” Emphasis on “consistent” and “substantial”.

    Explaining a Lot: We have all seen trial after trial that grew hair on mice but then failed in humans. We may now know why….. given that mice skin has cells that produce fgf9 whereas human skin is relatively lacking in these cells.

    Success w/o direct application of fgf9: It is hard to know the exact details but from a reading of the article above, it sounds like the “consistent” and “substantial” quote is based on trials using a compound other than fgf9 since they say that fgf9 has only been used pre-clinical to date. Therefore, it is possible that Follica could proceed on 2 parallel paths, one with the compound that has already been tested and a theoretical quicker path to market; and the other with fgf9.

    fgf9: I have not yet been able to google research as to the safety of fgf9 or whether it has already been FDA approved for certain uses. Given that fgf9 proliferates cell growth, I would think it would draw close scrutiny by the FDA with respect to unintended cell growth possibilities. No knowledge here, just asking the question. It would be great if knowledgeable people in this area could weigh in.

    Parallel Paths: If Follica is confident of safety and effectiveness, it is possible that they could run Phase II and Phase III trials concurrently. This has been done in the past resulting in FDA approval.

    • Lurker says:

      Interesting take. Thanks for that.

      One additional point – this ‘article’ quote is also important: “the research has paved the way for the company’s next step: to try a
      specific device configuration with a specific, well-known and studied
      drug (meaning it wouldn’t have to be as extensively tested as a new
      chemical) in a group of human patients.”

      I sincerely believe they are trying to get around having to ‘start over’. That said, like everyone has reiterated, there’s no need to jump up and down over this. It’s a good first step, but we’re all to use to failure.

      • ZZ says:

        Great point Lurker…………… it definitely looks like they will be pursing an avenue with a potential faster track. It would appear that they are also going to test a protocol (that may be more robust) with fgf9 since they have already completed a pre-clinical test. Only time will tell what it all means but it certainly sounds as positive as anything I have seen yet.

    • Curious says:

      ZZ, great look on things. I think people are getting a little too excited about skipping processes and rushing the timeline. I know we want to have this product today and have it work as they say it will with “consistent and substantial new hair follicles” but I think everyone should keep their pants on. Gathering information is the best thing we can do now regarding where they are at but as McJ said below the only fgf9 studies that they have done were preclinical. Let’s hope they found the “breakthrough” as ZZ puts it but as he also says they still need to continue on the FDA timeline for wherever they are (preclinical studies at this point). Undoubtedly they will try streamline the process if they know they have a solution that works and works well but that is the best they can do… they can’t just jump that process because they have other trials for other methods going on. For example, Latisse had their eyelash growing treatment already approved… they still had to go through all of the normal trials with the FDA which turned out good because they found that the treatment doesn’t work as well, if at all (I don’t remember), for the head. Can you imagine if these guys started to market this and the backlash that would have happened if they would have just assumed? This trials are set up to stop that from happening. If you add one new chemical to the procedure it will have to go through all phases again guys… that’s just common sense. All data collected before that is irrelevant now. THE GOOD NEWS: consistent and substantial new hair follicles! But again, take that with a grain of salt. As much as I want this to be the breakthrough as ZZ puts it, the rhetoric sounds very similar about many other preclinical treatments that have came with big noise around them and quietly faded away with time once in trials. Either way, cheers to the good news!

      • Lurker says:

        I respect your opinion… but,… you think they’ve know about this enough to publish about fgf9 into 2010, yet, they never conducted studies with it? Really?

        P.S. I get the whole – don’t get too excited theme when you’re looking out for someone’s welfare (guarding them against a let down). But, I think it’s gotten a bit too close to patronizing (“let’s not do get to speculating”, or that’s just “common sense”), which is a bit harsh. I’d suggest you tone that down a bit.

        • Curious says:

          My apologies if you find what I wrote patronizing, that wasn’t my intention.

          I do think that they have done studies but only the studies that they have said they have done which have been preclinical studies. I mean no harm when I say this will still need to go through clinical trials which means time. I truly hope that this works and I’m on the same page as everyone with the sooner the beter.

          I think that we tend to get carried away and like to read into things that aren’t there. I’m trying to balance the conversation out as it tends to go on these roller coaster rides as news articles come out. On the opposite end, when people start to say things like we are screwed and that there is no hope I try to put a non-patronizing “common sense” into why we aren’t screwed and why there is a ton of hope. Let’s take the news that comes to us with strides and hope for the best. I’ll be the first to admit that I am wrong if Follica is already in Phase 1,2 or 3 when they say they are but right now all I have heard from them is that they have only done preclinical studies. I’m not one to sit and dwell on the good or bad but what we have today is very exciting and I’m in the same spot as everyone, hoping that they have found something big.

          • Lurker says:

            Well, there’s a lot of assuming going on, by everyone (you, me, author of the article), which admittedly is problematic. These guys aren’t exactly open and have never been. I’ve been watching this at this source alone for over half a decade and I wouldn’t be slightly surprised if they “don’t need an additional study” or “do need one”. My issue with your assumption is your 100% assuming the fgf9 is endogenous. And that’s an assumption. It could be created exogenously. I’m not sure. Moreover, I’m not sure it hasn’t even been used considering they mentioned it in a patent before the trial “we have on file”. Truth be told – they may need to start from scratch. I don’t know. I don’t know much other than the very promising, but absolutely confusing article posted above, and neither do you. Hence, why the question… “what particular stage are they in”? …which you were kinda implying we shouldn’t ask in posts below (which kinda started this dialogue)… is actually quite relevant. It’s worthwhile question and doesn’t really need a “hush, hush”. In fact, it would be good for everyone (me, you and all readers) to get it answered.

          • Curious says:

            Hey Lurker,

            I think you’ve gotten me all wrong. I’m not trying to hush anyone and agree with you in regards to that we don’t know much (kind of a Follica trademark).

            As far as exo/endogenously I have made no claims and could care less. If it works, it works whether we add it from the outside or it is induced from the inside as long as it is safe. I’ve never made a claim for either and have no science, article or even educated guess to suggest either.

            Here is my point, again: I’m not sure why they are announcing it right now but my understanding of this article and past news/ trials is that this, fgf9, was not included in their previous trials. I’ve not read anything in regards to their clinical trials that focuses on fgf9 but if you could point me to a source that does mention that they were testing this in trials (outside of just having a patent for it), I would happily admit that I am wrong and have more hope for this solution as they are surely one step closer. As I see it, if they are adding in a new substance (either fgf9 or something to induce fgf9) into the trial they will need to start from Phase 1. As ZZ mentioned above, once we have the “breakthrough” is really when we can start the timer for FDA trials because until we have the breakthrough it is just putting a timer on something that may not be effective. I’m not 100% convinced we have the “breakthrough” here (as we have been taken for rides before) but I am definitely excited by the news and hope that this is what we’ve been hoping for.

            With that said, I’m going to politely remove myself from the conversation as I feel that you may have completely misunderstood me from the beginning. You seem to be having a conversation with me that I’m not part of.

          • Lurker says:

            At the end of the day, I want to know what stage they are in or will be. That’s all. I get frustrated when I come to a forum of like-minded people and hear “let’s not” do this or that (like ask questions on timelines). I think to myself – ummm, why? They didn’t tell us the timeline. I’ve been here just as long as you, I know let downs, but…. of course we want to know the timeline!

            On exogeneity or endogeneity, it’s important, considering we don’t know for sure the stage and we all want them to come to market quicker. If it’s endgenously created, that may hint to them being at further along as a new compound may not be needed for fgf9 to to be created “within” (hence, why start over?). If it’s exogenously created, you’re probably right they’d have to start at stage I. Yet, this is ALL confusing because of the patent I showed – which shows dates and clearly indicates they knew about fgf9 BEFORE their ‘confirmed’ trial. Are we sure they didn’t use it in the trial then?

            I don’t want to argue with anyone. We’re on the same team. What I want is for us to not argue on what we should or should not be discussing (hence the patronizing aspect). It’s a discussion forum. I believe timelines are important – I know I’m not alone. I understand we don’t want to get hopes up, but guess what – I’m here because my hopes are and have been up on Follica. Let’s get the question on staging answered if possible.

          • herzog says:

            Fgf9 has only been in pre-clinical tests. They told us plain as day. Any questions beyond that should be directed to Daphne Zohar’s twitter page.

          • Lurker says:

            Well, you’re right,,, but, that was stated after the fact – a revision. Which was a touch odd, but ok. However, then they go on to say they can grown new hair follicles and they’ve completed trials, including a mid-stage one. This leaves one scratching their head – so ummm… when did you grow the hairs? When/where did this happen? Then you got the patent (where fgf9 is mentioned all over it) that was published a year or so prior to their one trial to which we have information. And on top of that, perhaps when they clarified that Fgf9 was only used in pre-clinical testing, they meant to dampen the flame (hope)…. but were honest – literally,they hadn’t used Fgf9 “itself” outside of pre-clinical testing, but HAVE USED a drug that sparks Fgf9 already. Lots of confusion here, maybe there’s a purpose to it.

          • Curious says:

            Thank you herzog, that’s all I’ve been trying to say. I really don’t see anything beyond that. Otherwise I think they would have been explicit in saying”… but we have tested something that induces fgf9 in wounds.” That statement just never happened.

        • Curious says:

          PS. If you were wondering what clinical trials they have done so far as being recorded by some govt. agency :

          • Lurker says:

            PPS… if you were wondering that particular clinical trial began after the findings in the patent I posted below were published. That’s the patent by Follica that mentions fgf9 about a multitude of times in a “patent” they put together BEFORE the trial. Think about that.

  16. André says:

    I just can’t wait for this to happen…that’s freedom from drugs that just doesn’t work…such a waste of money!!!!!

  17. Aleluia says:

    Fgf9 will be the last follica´s discovery?
    Because first was the WNT protein, then the PGD2 and this one.
    I don´t care about hairy mices, i care about human hair!

    • herzog says:

      Was thinking the same thing. It’s turning into a circus.

    • Vikki says:

      Check out this quote again:
      “We’ve been able to consistently show that we crate substantial new hair follicles in humans, and that’s something that no other approach in hair loss as far as I am aware has been able to achieve,” Olle says. “That’s a critical step. The goal of some of those early trials has been to test the hypothesis of the mechanism that we had seen in mice.”
      They are actually claiming that they’ve got it WORKING in humans! This is great news!

      • Vikki says:

        I trust that they actually meant, “create”, as opposed to, “crate”. But hey, if they’re growing crate-loads of hair, then who cares about a typo? :D

  18. Colt says:

    Sorry to jump in with this, but can this additional discovery be applied for hair removal as well? That has always been another focus for follica…

    • Vikki says:

      I’m not an expert at all, but I would have thought that, if up-regulating Fgf9 after skin disruption increases hair growth, then down-regulating Fgf9 at the same stage would discourage hair formation.
      Which, if true, would also be pretty exciting. (Maybe time to get rid of your Gillette shares…)

      • Colt says:

        Thanks Vikki- yes, there is definitely potential. I guess i just wonder if follica is actually pursuing the hair removal track alongside the hair growth one. They don’t seem to talk about it as much, although you’re right, the science would suggest it is certainly possible. I certainly hope that they are because that would be very significant!

  19. Vikki says:

    I thought this quote was quite interesting:
    “Olle says the procedure isn’t painful, but the area could be numbed anyway.”

    This would suggest they have a fair amount of patient data in this regard, e.g. they performed the procedure on x number of patients, and x-n number of patients report it to be not painful.
    There’s also the possibility that Dr Olle has experienced this procedure for himself. I’m speculating wildly, of course, but he sounds confident.

    Also interesting was the fact that they claim to have run a series of human clinical trials, including this mid-stage one that’s produced de novo follicles.

    All in all, very exciting :)

    • McJ says:

      I agree. That was quite specific wasn’t it? We’re not quite at that break through moment yet I don’t think (I’ll be happy when I see some before and after pics) but judging from this article, we could be darn close.

      The only really bothersome part is having to wait for the next bit of news from them. But yeah, exciting.

  20. John says:

    What would you people do? get a hair transplant or wait another couple of years? I am getting very desperate and dont want to make the wrong decision. Realistically how long do we have to wait? I have been following Follica since 2007 and this is the first time they release any news that makes me believe they are still working on a treatment.

    What happened to Histogen? are they still doing studies?

    • Curious says:

      If you’re waiting for “the cure” it isn’t going to come for awhile. There are treatments that are coming down the pipeline but really we can’t give any detail on those as the data that has been release is from preliminary trials, the data wasn’t completely impressive (although I thought it was good) and they haven’t followed up with any more news whether they are going to go into Phase 3. I think in October after the conference we will know more, not only about the treatments discussed here but also advances in HT (including wesley’s “scarless” surgery).

      The way I see HT’s is that it is definitely a last resort. Once you get a transplant, you will be investing in hair treatments for the rest of your life which will in turn be very costly. Real treatments are being tested and we will break the code soon… there is too much good research going into this that it will happen sooner than later (we will see new treatments that will advance the field within our lifetime, within the next 10 years). My question to you is how much do you trust in that? Can you buzz (maybe not slick) your head until that comes around. Are you okay looking at life as one big whole and not just focusing on the few years that you have to buzz your hair short?

      Once you’re cut you’re cut but I also see the treatments that are coming down the pipeline like this: pictures or it didn’t happen. If you don’t buy an HT you can invest the money in other parts of your life.

  21. Troy says:

    Even if it generates a couple of hairs, they should release it now. Forget the FDA and even the USA for that matter, release the product in Africa or the Middle East and let people that want it that bad fly there.

  22. McJ says:

    Bit of news/non-news – actually it depends what comes up down the line. Dr. Robert Langer now appears to be on the Follica team. Now, you may not have heard of him but he’s a pretty big name in the biotech field. This is his wikipedia page;

    Now that could be a big deal – but I don’t know in all honesty. But it certainly adds to the credibility. As a bit of a side note, the Follica site is currently down. Possibly getting a revamp with added info maybe? Or just a glitch?

    Anyway, I’ll repost this. I was initially shot down when I posted this on the last board and probably rightly so but in light of the recent news from Follica. I reckon it’s fairly salient;

    That guy used to be (and still could be but isn’t listed) on the Follica board, I wouldn’t be too shocked if we got some more info on Follica later this year.

  23. Colt says:

    Thanks Vikki- yes, there is definitely potential. I guess i just wonder if follica is actually pursuing the hair removal track alongside the hair growth one. They don’t seem to talk about it as much, although you’re right, the science would suggest it is certainly possible. I certainly hope that they are because that would be very significant… it would be good to know either way, though. They have discussed hair removal in previous patents, which means it is still on their radar.

  24. Sammy says:

    Hi all, i’m new to the forum. Colt, I am curious about the hair removal question. Anybody have any thoughts on it? I guess it is all speculation, but maybe others have some information or insight to add .

  25. McJ says:

    I’m sort of glad it’s quieter here these days as it means most of us accept that Follica being quiet is par for the course and also just possibly, they could come through for a lot of people – folks looking hair and folks looking rid of unwanted hair. Just wanted to add a bit of further observation to this though.

    It’s been almost a month since the news broke – yet no major news outlets have picked up on the story. That’s kinda odd given the whole ‘ follicular neogenesis in humans for the first time’ thing.

    I know Xconomy added further info to the story (And by the way, thanks again Ben and co!) but the mainstream media loves a sensational headline, particularly regarding hair loss treatments or as they love to say ‘cure’. Is this because Follica haven’t contacted them or does it not work like that?

    Well, no major news outlets apart from The Wall Street Journal. The story appeared there. And a certain type of person, generally speaking, reads the WSJ. Is this possibly to gear up for more money or something else? I noticed in this Xconomy article that Olle said they had raised $19 million in funding. Yet the previous two rounds yieldled $5.5 million and $11 million. So did they quietly get 2.5 million from somewhere else? Would that maybe explain the addition of Gwill York from Lighthouse Capital Partners?

    Or I’m possibly reading too much into all this. Still, when Follica really landed on the radar in 2008, there was quite an explosion of interest and they hadn’t even tested on humans at that stage. Perhaps Follica are getting wiser in this regard and don’t want too much attention…yet!

    Just a few stray thoughts anyway. Hope everyone is hanging in there.

  26. Jayson Jade says:

    Buy a hair clipper and shave it. It’s only hair, who cares?

  27. tk says:

    It’s great that they could create “substancial hair”, but without a picture to show, this means very little as far as I am concerned. I mean, what density are we talking about here? Will it work on thin areas, bald areas?

    With the terrible state of hair loss treatments, “substancial” could very well only mean an increase of 20% in density, or something ridiculous like 10 new hairs per cm square.

    So allow me to be cautiously optimistic.

    Oh, and there is no reason to believe that the hair will be DHT resistant. So without DHT blockers, and repeat treatments (no idea if this will be doable), this can’t be a cure.

    In order to have a cure, you would need to repopulate the bald areas with hair that is DHT resistant, with a type of cloning approach like the japanese are trying to do. Otherwise, it’s just another treatment in our arsenal.

    • McJ says:

      Correct me if I wrong and assuming all were to go well, wouldn’t the hair last at least 2- 6 years or something like that – however long a cycle takes. And doesn’t the level of DHT in men decline as they get older?

      I’d take that if that were the case. I think most folks would. But too much is unknowable at the present time without further info. Given the way Olle was talking, I think substantial means a full head of hair. Otherwise, why bother. I get the impression these guys are in this to change the game. At the very least, to get there before someone else does.

      But you’re right, I need to see a picture before I totally lose my sh#t and jump up and down.

  28. vin diesel says:

    OK enough sciency talk, when can I have my hair back?

  29. Toni24 says:

    Man can you believe if they ever came out with a solution to reverse balding. I can honestly say every investor would be a billionaire within the first year. I hope they figure something out I’d be the first one in line. I hope to god they come out with a cure

  30. McJ says:

    Bit of non news but Puretech have revamped their website once again (still no redesign of the Follicabio page though) and it shows where all their various pipeline products are at;

    It would appear, according to the chart, that they are half way there. We know they’ve admitted to phase IIa. It will be interesting (and good hopefully) if the FDA process can be expedited as the Xconomy article indicates.

    Has anyone read or had access to this;

    Any new info in it?

    • Vikki says:

      I’m hoping the fact that they misspelled ‘Fluoro Pharma’ as ‘Flouro Pharma’ doesn’t mean they have poor attention to detail.

      Unless I’m wrong, and actually they’re trying to treat various disorders with flour.

      • McJ says:

        Ha! Good spot. Yeah, that doesn’t look so good. With the website rejig, they appear to overlooked that. We should let them know about that and maybe in exchange, they can give us some hard facts about Follica and when it might hit the market…..

        Not! (that’s a bit 90s but what the hey)

  31. Froggy says:

    Aderans completed ALL their current phase 2 clinical trials!!!!!!!!!!
    So including the last one which seemed to be an extension of an old phase 2 clinical trial.

    We will probably have some news.

    • Herzog says:

      That’s cool. Where did you hear this?

    • herzog says:

      I just looked into this. It appears all their clinical trials for phase two have come to a halt as of the 7/9/13. No results are yet reported, but it’s odd that all 11 of their trials would stop at exactly the same time. Phase II trials prove that the therapy works. It sounds to me like nothing worked so they pulled the plug.

      I mostly think this because at exactly the same time they began liquidating all their equipment in their main office in Atlanta.

      This looks really, really bad to me for Aderans.

      • Froggy says:

        My joy was very short
        Indeed there are RUMORS (at this time) that Aderans stopped financing the lab. But according to those same rumors the crew is still working on Ji-gami and is searching for some new investors.

        There are many reasons for this:
        – maybe because the results are not so good,

        – maybe because Aderans have financial problems and cannot afford a lab anymore even if the results are good.
        – maybe because follica’s solution (or other) is better and will be very soon on the market (according to this article they will test a well knowned drug (so quick FDA approval) with a special devise of their own to disrupt the skin (probably no FDA needed).

        But if there is something to be affraid of is that if the rumors are true we lost one of the biggest competitors and the others might feel more comfortable on the release date.

        Let’s hope follica is working and we be soon on the market.

  32. Froggy says:

    By the way, 2 important questions:

    Follica will test a well knowned drug with a special device to disrupt the skin.
    – So FDA approval will be fastest that’s sure but how many phase?
    – Also very important concerning the speed: will Follica be able to protect their discovery? Will they trick to protect the discovery by introducing new components? (Then they will need to run all FDA procedure).

    • curious says:

      Hey Guys, It seems that this conversation keeps happening over and over. Follica may have the cure or not (photos or it didn’t happen seems to be the philosophy around here). As far as the timeline goes, as I see it, it doesn’t really matter until there is a break through. We have seen a number of companies now go through phase 2 we perceived timelines that really didn’t matter because their invention/ solution did not work. What this means in regards to Follica is even if they have a product that has already been approved by the FDA, that means any safety trials would not need to be done (assuming that the medicine is applied in a similar way with a similar amount). Even then they would still need to prove that it works meaning the biggest parts of the trails would still need to be done. If it worked and worked well, let’s say after phase 2 trials, the FDA might allow them to fast track Phase 3 (again this is speculation and FDA might not care and make them do a full blown phase 3) allowing them to finish a bit sooner. Someone surely has said before that the FDA only bypasses trials for procedures/ medicine that could be life saving and only when there are no available treatments. I highly doubt that the FDA would consider balding in the same category as say cancer. The most important thing we can hope for are good results. Good results will give us the solution faster than a fast track through the FDA for a drug that does not work.

  33. L says:

    Thought this was interesting. Tempered optimism, but it seems we get closer and closer everyday. Hope it’s not too much longer.

    • McJ says:

      Yep. Getting closer. A full proper cure doesn’t seem like sci-fi anymore but I’m just hoping that we’ll see something in the nearer term (Fingers crossed for Follica) that at the very least can give cosmetically viable results that last a few years.

    • Aleluia says:

      I tought that the 3d impressed hair could be used direct into the head, but i think it´s wrong:

      “If commercialized, this technology could be used by pharmaceutical companies in the drug discovery stage to screen potential promoters or inhibitors of hair formation. Consumer care companies would also be interested in this technology platform as it would allow them to screen the effectiveness of active ingredients in personal care products for hair growth.”

  34. herzog says:

    Ken Washenik just disclosed that Aderans has stopped funding the their J-Gami research at ARI. He’s going to try to find private funding on his own, but the fact is that ARI is dead.

    In better news, Replicel just got 4 million dollars in funding from Shiseido cosmetics for exclusive distribution rights of their hair regeneration formula. Pretty awesome.

  35. McJ says:

    Next bit of Follica info could come from here;

    A new era: The melding of drugs, devices and information’

    Daphne Zohar will be speaking at Biopharm 2013;

    Drugs and devices would certainly be up the Follica alley. Also Puretech Ventures is now PuretechHealth.

  36. tk says:

    Where did you find that info about ARI? I can’t find any of this on the web.

  37. Froggy says:

    So the rumors that I mentionned earlier are true!

    According to this video Dr Washenik said that his technology is working and that he is searching for some new investors.

    IF TRUE Dr Washenik will have to bring some SOLID EVIDENCE (specially after losing Aderans) otherwise he will not find new investors.

    So we will be fixed very soon. But this sound very very bad.

  38. McJ says:

    Does anyone have any knowledge about patent applications and typically how long it takes from filing the patent application to actually studying it and/or doing clinical trials?

    It’s just, as was pointed out on the last thread and possibly also this thread, that the application for the patent regarding FGF9 was filed in 2009;

    disappointed, are you still out there? Any thoughts or insight on this?

    • Vikki says:

      I was listed as a co-inventor in a patent in 2006, and it took until 2008 until it was actually ratified. However, the work had already been done by the time the application was filed.

  39. tk says:

    ARI’s results were probably a bit better than Intercytex or Replicel’s. Unger, Bazan, and even Gho went through the same thing.

    Simply injecting cells in the scalp won’t grow hair consistently, at least not with the current state of technology. Growing hairs in vitro (like the Tsuji lab), or in vivo (like Gho and maybe Nigham are doing) is the best bet for the next decade.

    Follica is just a wildcard. It’s just completely different from other procedures as it highjacks the body’s own regenerative abilities. My hunch is that it will work somewhat, but won’t turn slick bald into Zac Effron anytime soon, if ever.

    • curious says:

      When you say ARI’s results are “a bit better” it is a negative connotation.
      I still don’t know what people are complaining about with ARI’s results. I don’t have time to go back to the data and pull numbers out but from what I understand, at the very least, is that they are receiving results that are either equal to or better than those received with finasteride… and that is with a single injection! What is there to complain about? People want a treatment with no sides… yet we aren’t happy because we aren’t growing a full head of hair over night yet.
      I’d bet that if ARI was to release their product as it is, there would be a large number of people to use the treatment which would be very profitable… not to mention that multiple treatments would probably yield better results and in turn mean more money for ARI. Leaving me to believe WTF are they thinking by stopping the studies?

  40. McJ says:

    Biopharm in Boston next month is something to keep an eye on;

    The Melding of Drugs, Devices and Information.

    Not hugely likely that anything might come up but possibly worth keeping a close eye on due to the whole drugs and devices part.

  41. McJ says:

    Follica appear to have filed a new patent a few days ago;

    This one appears to be called ‘combination therapy’. Another big name in the science field appears to be on the last couple of patents too – Seth Lederman.

    Can’t pretend for a second that I can understand any of what that patent says. But it’s a newbie at least.

    • McJ says:

      I reckon the best things to take from this are that the science is strong, as we’ve known since this Xconomy article was published, and that Follica are going about this in exactly the right way. Properly testing it to make sure it’s safe and perhaps equally importantly, efficient.

      Given that the patent was filed in 2010 for Fgf9, I wonder have they progressed more that they are letting on with their clinical trials with Fgf9?

      Either way, let’s hope the translation of Fgf9 on human skin yields the results both men and women across the globe want – getting their hair back!

      As mentioned in the article, a long way to go (hopefully not too long!) yet but things are looking brighter for a solution to this. Keep at it science guys and gals!

    • curious says:

      This seems like a fluff piece meant to pat the backs of those who made a discovery that hasn’t been proven yet. What I can take away from this is that their initial news release about the product and how they were going to streamline the process was wildly exaggerated (surely by reporters, bloggers, commenters as well as the company it self). They should have been more careful in creating such hype around the “discovery” and not left anyone thinking that they had already tested this clinically. They still have a long road ahead of them and any progress they are making needs to be backed up by photos/ evidence. As I said before, the countdown does not start until we actually have a real discovery. When we start seeing pictures of people growing their hair back in a substantial way, then we can say “okay, how long until they get through the trials and that will be our timeline.” If they produce nothing yet again the timeline is meaningless. I 100% agree with you McJ let’s hope that the translation works well on human skin! Thanks for posting.

  42. McJ says:

    This is the kind of hyperbole that doesn’t help;

    This almost gives the impression it could be available in no time at all.

    I think, after the initial discovery in 2007 and the now infamous NBC piece in 2008 – Follica weren’t quick enough to shut down the comments (albeit from a ‘tv’ doc) that this could be available in ‘a few years, maybe sooner’.

    That last press release, if you hadn’t already noticed, didn’t pick up a lot of media coverage – in fact i think it was really only picked up mainstream media wise by the WSJ. I think that was deliberate.

    It’ll be interesting to see now after this huffpo piece if other outlets pick up on it now – several months after initially being announced – and the steady stream of ‘cure on the way’ crap that we’re all sick of seeing.

    Bernat Olle acknowledges in this Xconomy article that they need to be careful about how they handle Follica news so if there’s big reaction on the way, we could well see them putting out those flames a lot quicker than they have down in the past.

    Personally my biggest hope is that they’re much further ahead than what they are letting on – that Fgf9 patent is from 2010 if I’m not mistaken and Vikki in the comments below made a very interesting comment regarding patents. It may be relevant to Follica or it may be a totally different scenario.

  43. BRIAN CANTON says:


  44. McJ says:

    This has been mentioned before but a week from tuesday sees a topic at Biopharm 2013 that in all likelihood won’t throw up any new info but is possibly worth keeping an eye on just in case – A New Era: The melding of Drugs Devices and Information.

    We know with a certain degree of certainty that a large part of Follica’s tech revolves around a device to remove a layer of skin on the scalp plus the addition of something topical. This topic would seem to be up Follica’s alley but perhaps even more so because Puretach and Follica’s Daphne Zohar is chairing the discussion.

    Again not terribly likely to throw out anything new or even anything related to Follica but you never know,

  45. curious says:

    McJ I like your enthusiasm but I do have to say that until further news comes out regarding this procedure you are really grasping at straws. I don’t want to be a downer but we have to look at things realistically. I really don’t think Follica has anything here (yet) and keeping the buzz going is keeping a false sense of hope. I don’t want to say we shouldn’t have hope but I do think that reposting articles and digging deep/ reaching far to have something make sense isn’t practical in this circumstance. I agree that Follica has to be careful with that they say but I really think they are doing just the opposite. If I were to tell you that I had the best surprise that is going to change your life but I’m unwilling to tell you what it is, I’m sure you would get skeptical within the first few minutes and thus followed by boredom. Follica, along with other companies, have done this way more than once and for some reason we don’t learn as a collective. When I initially found out about all of these treatments, about 4 years ago, I got extremely excited and had told myself that 2015 was the year or close to the year that these things were going to happen. Call me a cynic but I now want to see proof and data, not some silly article written by the huffington post that states that all they really have done is create a “platform” for this technology to be tested. I’m not sure what that even means. I know you have the best of intentions but we have to walk this path carefully. We have made so much progress here but we need to stay vigilant ourself and to be honest. We need that so we can do some self reflection instead of obsessing. I truly hope for the best. When the cure comes it will be shouted across the world, not vaguely stated with no facts to back it up. I still say, picture or it didn’t happen. Cheers!

    • McJ says:

      Fair enough. Wouldn’t say I’m trying to keep it alive for the sake of it though. There appeared like there might be a genuine swell in news reports again after that unhelpful and misleading Huffpo click bait article.

      So far that hasn’t happened, which maybe might be a good thing, but I reckon that if it had, Follica might be prompted into making a statement that corrects certain misleading articles, like the Huffpo one for example. Maybe even giving us some solid facts.

      I’m a pictures or it didn’t happen guy too but at this stage, I’m not going to call Follica on their credibility. If they say they’ve created new hairs in humans for the first time, I believe them. They’ve got too many people with big reputations to either lie or in turn release a treatment that is only as effective as what we currently have.

      All that being said, it won’t come tomorrow and obesessing certainly won’t help and I agree wholeheartedly on that front.

      PS If I’m not wrong though, you said the exact same thing to me on the last thread about stuff I was posting and then Follica kinda laid out some big news. 2013 probably won’t see any further action on the Follica front but you can’t ever be too sure ;)

  46. Aleluia says:

    Sometimes I feel a little bit sad sometimes for waiting for years about follica. But i really believe that they are doing real progress and what they´re showing now to us is past to them. Maybe in 2 years they´ll have a final product.

  47. john terry says:

    Histogen’s Composition for Hair Growth Receives US Patent…

    Something to Cherish?

  48. tk says:

    @john terry
    Histogen? Their stuff isn’t working so well. Better off putting all your life savings in Replicel stock.

    The biggets issue with Follica is weither or not it can be used on areas that still have hair. Are they sanding the skin deep enough to kill existing follicles? If not, then it opens the door to compounding treatments.

    It’s crazy how lives can be affected by hair loss. If your life was not affected, then you probably weren’t very outgoing or socially talented to start with. It’s destroyed my life so far, to be honest.

  49. Very occasional lurker says:

    Cured yet? No? OK, see you again in another 5 years.

  50. Keven says:

    I don’t think they’re even close. They used the media hype to secure money but nothing yet. I know research takes time but I don’t think those guys are legit. Five years from now they still will have nothing and brag about successful test, but will provide no evidence.

    • McJ says:

      Good find, this appears to be the PGD2 thing yes? I don’t think this one is Follica related even though UPenn is the applicant and wounding happens to be mentioned in one of their claims. Or do Follica ultimately own this stuff anyway?

      The fact that wounding is again mentioned is something that is surely a positive sign that this could really be a good way forward for treating hair loss. That and the claims Follica make in the above article of course.

      • Gab Broadhead says:

        It seem to be the PGD2 thing!!

        • McJ says:

          Follica weren’t actually on the FGf9 patent but it does appear, according to the marketwatch article, that in fact it is licensed by Follica so perhaps it’s safe to assume the above patent is licensed by Follica too. Olle does admit as well, in the above article, that they have been doing ‘a lot of work with topical formulations’.

          Would be great to know more but that’s not their way unfortunately.

          • Vikki says:

            Very interesting, and it’s also a worldwide patent. Seems to have been quite fast to be published. It was only filed in March this year, so it’s only a 6 month turnaround, which in my experience is quite fast.
            I need to read the details when I’m not so sleepy. It’s already quite late here in Denmarkzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

          • Colt says:

            Hi all- I’m wondering if anyone has thoughts on this latest patent. Seems like they are looking to both promote and inhibit hair growth, which is great for folks on either end of the spectrum!
            Does this latest one deal with wounding?

          • McJ says:

            Follica are apparently looking at both hair growth and hair inhibition (both huge markets so it makes sense) and yeah, the latest patent does once again mention wounding as a a pathway.

  51. Gab Broadhead says:

    I hope they really make it happen! Thanks xconomy!

  52. julian says:

    “We’ve been able to consistently show that we crate substantial new hair follicles in humans, and that’s something that no other approach in hair loss as far as I am aware has been able to achieve,” Olle says. “That’s a critical step. The goal of some of those early trials has been to test the hypothesis of the mechanism that we had seen in mice.”

    favorite part of the text, hope by substantial they mean A LOT OF these mtfkrs!!

    • tk says:

      Thanks for pointing out that word. It is quite a change from the usual “significant new growth” that we are used to with Replicel, Histogen and all the others.

      The big question remains: can treatments be compounded? That would imply a quasi-cure.

      • julian says:

        I guess so!! I think that coupled with the awakening of existing miniaturized hair follicles would be amazing. I’m looking forward to this not being so forward.

    • CSJ Bofop says:

      That quote was already was already pointed out further down the page by Vikki…do try to keep up Julian :p

      In all seriousness, though, I agree with you, I think the choice of wording is quite significant in itself.

  53. Froggy says:

    Speeking of video we will have a video of Dr Gail Naughton’s presentation at the Stem cell meeting on the MESA.

    Maybe we will have some details (new pictures etc…).

    Wait and see.

    • saveuslatisseplease says:

      Allergan will test their latisse version for hair throughout the next year, a new formula10 times stronger and if you want to root for something to come in the near term that is the one to hope for. If it works and is able to turn those little tiny hairs into thick, normal, big, healthy long hairs again then it will be amazing and it could be in the market real soon.

      • Froggy says:

        Could you post on this forum as soon as you will have more news about latisse?

        • saveuslatisseplease says:

          I rather liked their decision. Others would have been too cautious and increased dosage just a little bit but they weren’t and elevated it 10 fold and let’s see what happens.. As I said, if it works and does just that, strengthen the hairs it will be cosmetically miraculous. let’s see.

  54. Froggy says:

    I need to read it more carefully but it seems that according to this pdf there is nothing new (as usual).

  55. Vikki says:

    Again, looks like this approach is miles from being ready for human treatment, but interesting research by some well-regarded scientists at Columbia and Durham:

    • McJ says:

      Nice find Vikki. It really is a matter of time – although in the case of this ever becoming a treatment, I’m guessing ten years or so. I’m sure there are more people and companies that we haven’t heard of that are looking into this.

      Interesting quote though at the end;

      ‘Our method, in contrast, has the potential to actually grow new follicles using a patient’s own cells.’

      All the more incentive for Follica who I’m sure are going as speedily as possible. There’s a goldmine here and whoever gets there first will reap the rewards.

      I still think this is a pertinent piece of info;

      I’ve posted this before but the question about ‘biggest investment opportunity for venture capital in 2013’ and his answer could only point to Follica. I could be way off but the next piece of news we’re likely to get about Follica is new funding.

      • Vikki says:

        I hadn’t seen that one before. Seems almost like a throwaway line, doesn’t it?
        But I’d bet you’re correct. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next thing we hear from Follica is that they’ve scored a big old wad of funding. Which would be nice.

        • McJ says:

          It does seem pretty throwaway I must admit but it’s hard to overlook his past connection with the company. And also given that they advertised on the Wall Street Journal – it surely has to be a grab for more funding. Although they may not need a whole lot.

          Here’s an old interview that I think seems to be worth highlighting;

          Perhaps what is most interesting is that they said that, with the last pieces of funding they got, they had enough to go from proof of concept towards an NDA. I guess, given the fact that they don’t have to go through as many hoops, that they don’t need as much money.

          Whatever piece of news we get next, I’d have to wager on it being funding. Hopefully though it’s the news we’ve all been waiting for (with some pictures of course) Are Follica going to be picked up or, as that interview suggests, will they expand the company to market the technology itself is an option.

          And just one more interesting link, this one from 2011;

          This one from Vera Price in the last paragraph. To my mind, she can only have been talking about Follica here and Follica have of course (back in June) confirmed that they have grown new hair in humans. I’m not the most optimistic person but it’s hard to ignore these things. We’re not there yet but we’re not a million miles away either. I still think Follica is the best bet and I can safely say I’m eagerly awaiting the next piece of news. Just hope it’s not to far off!

          • julian says:

            “This field is wide open, and an investigator can make a major contribution, perhaps even earn a Nobel prize,” Vera Price

            It’s true, the scientist that solves this problem will earn a Nobel, and as I see it will be the most well deserved Nobel prize ever!!!!

            Hope it’s soon!! Cotsarelis, I’m rooting for you my friend!!! I want so much that you earn this nobel, dude!!!

          • julian says:

            well, Vera Price is a member and co-founder of Follica… Vera Price, M.D.Co-Founder & Member of the Scientific Advisory Board

            Dr. Vera Price is a Professor in the Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where she also directs the UCSF Hair Research Center and the Hair and Nail Clinic. Dr. Price is Founding Chairman of the National Alopecia Areata Foundation and the Cicatricial Alopecia Research Foundation, and an active participant in other leading alopecia societies. Her research on quantitatively measuring hair growth in patients treated with Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil), the hormonal regulation of the hair follicle, and immunopathologic and genetic studies in alopecia areata have yielded numerous significant contributions to the field.

      • julian says:

        You may be right. They had 15,5 million dollars to spend but 5 years have passed since then. But they’ll have to show some advance in order to get more money, I suppose. With results they’ll have no problem to find investors, for sure. But with potentials I don’t know, I hope they’ve passed that phase and really have got something impressive by now. If they have it, money won’t be a problem.

        • julian says:

          correction: 16,5 million… one million more makes difference!! I hope they won’t even need more and are almost ready to announce the greatest cosmetical breakthrough of all time.. but I’m just dreaming now.

        • McJ says:

          Actually it’s 19 million. They must have gotten other funding. Presumably from Lighthouse Capital Partners. See the article on this page for confirmation of that number.

    • julian says:

      good news but seems it’s too far away… and I don’t know about you but I can’t stand hearing this word “potential” anymore. Please scientists stop saying this potential thing, it really sucks!!

  56. Froggy says:

    Vikki thanks for this article.
    This article is about Prof Jahoda and Prof Angela Christiano.
    Do you remember Dr Colin Jahoda?

    In the 90’s (maybe the 80’s) he took hair cells from his scalp and transplanted them to the arm of his wife. Some hairs grew up. He made genetic test and discovered that the hairs were male hairs so his hairs. (The experience was published).
    After that we didn’t hear about him anymore.

    But some wanted to use Jahoda work by multiplying the cells before transplantation:
    – Intercytex directly based on this work in the UK => failed.
    – Dr Gho in netherlands => failed.
    – Aderans (who bought Intercytex) => failed.

    Let’s hope that follica (or some other) will be quicker than Jahoda. Or that this time he really have something.

  57. Vikki says:

    Hey Froggy, yes I do remember Dr Jahoda, he’s done a lot of interesting work in the past.

    Bit of a more detailed article on the findings. Quite interesting that they were able to make hairs grow on a transplanted (cross your legs, guys) foreskin; an area that is typically completely hairless.
    Also, interesting to note that the lady in the photo at the top of the article, Dr Christiano, is herself a hairloss sufferer. Not that it’s apparent from the photo – wow, that is some head of hair. I’m jealous!

  58. McJ says:

    Just an addition to the links Vikki posted but here are two smaller bits of info;

    Now the first link doesn’t go the usual 5 years route but the quote from Jahoda does say people will ‘have to wait a bit longer’.

    The second link is from Fox but…the bit at the end is interesting. The bit about testing drugs on lab grown hair. Now this could be purely unfounded conjecture or it could be reasoned conjucture. I don’t know. The journalist in question seems to have a decent background. I seriously hope Follica are paying attention as this (hopefully) should open the floodgates for other competitors to enter the race.

    The Christiano/Jahoda claims of neogenesis are not dissimilar to that of Follica although Follica are taking a different approach entirely to neogenesis The main difference is that Christiano has published these claims. Follica are keeping the exact details under wraps, as is their right, but I wonder if they have something further to announce. Like I guessed before, it’s likely funding but possibly some further light may be shed on their findings.

  59. McJ says:

    Here’s a date to look out for;

    There could be something to this one. Not only are Follica represented by 3 people here but it seems they’ve been hiring on the quiet. Dr Neal Walker is the new executive Chairman of Follica inc but he is also linked to another company;

    Guess what they specialize in?

    Novel topical dermatological therapies. Quite interesting.

    • Froggy says:

      Thanks Vikki and McJ for all those news.
      It’s very interesting.
      Follica seems to be more and more open.

    • julian says:

      Dr. William Ju is still the CEO? cause it says he has been… that means he isn’t anymore? and Dr Neal Walker is in his place? I didn’t get it right I suppose.

      • Vikki says:

        He’s Executive Chairman of Follica now, differs by company I guess but it’s usually a distinct and separate position to CEO.

    • Vikki says:

      Another great find, McJ.
      Very, very interesting. Just from a quick look, it seems like he’s got a fascinating background and seems to be kind of a big hitter.

      First off, his last position as CEO and co-founder was at Vicept, which was acquired by none other than Allergan!
      Other companies he’s either founded or led have also been acquired by major organisations like Accenture and Dr Reddy’s.

      I’m speculating pretty wildly again, but I wonder if he’s been brought on board; (a) because of the synergy between Follica and Aclaris (could they actually be developing a topical treatment together???) ;
      and (b) because he’s got a load of experience in selling start-ups to big pharma?

      Because both of those possibilities sound like very positive news to me, if I’m correct. (With the caveat that I could be way off.)
      On the other hand, he’s joined the company for a reason, you can be sure about that – which is also very positive news and means Follica are very, very much alive and kicking.

      • McJ says:

        Thanks Vikki. Yeah, I hope at least one of those is true! I was wondering about the relationship or potential relationship between Aclaris and Follica. We do know for sure that Follica did outsource some of their investigatory work and it’s a heck of a coincidence that Aclaris specialize is topical formulations for skin.
        I haven’t really been in doubt about Follica since the June announcement but what is interesting me a lot is their next move. Certainly Puretech have positioned themselves very firmly as a healthcare company so they could easily go it alone.

        It’s just waiting on that next bit of news! I hope it involves pictures! But yeah, it seems positive. Fingers crossed for the months ahead.

  60. julian says:

    I’m about to getting me a really good good wig and glue it on my head with a glue spitted by a devil cause I can’t wait these motherfuckers anymore!!!

  61. hairyfuture says:

    who is the current CEO at Follica? Dr. Ju or Dr. Walker?

    • McJ says:

      No, I think it’s still Ju. As far as I’m aware, executive chairmain is different from CEO. Also, I think he’s executive chairman of the Board of Directors rather than of the company but I’m just guessing, I’ve no idea.

      • hairyfuture says:

        But there is said that Dr. Ju HAS BEEN CEO at Follica… has been is past, recent past or could be present as well, I have a little problem with present perfect. Help me please.

  62. Froggy says:

    Here you can see a video of Gail Naughton presenting Histogen at 2013 Stem cell meeting on the MESA:

  63. curious says:

    So on some actual news you guys should check out the latest the Bald Truth Talk episode where they show a presentation of the new Pilofocus technology created by Dr. Wesley. That is a huge leap forward in terms of hair treatments even if it is still an HT.

  64. waitingforamiracle says:

    … “We’ve had to be careful about how we deliver the news because there’s all these huge responses,” says Follica co-founder and PureTech principal Bernat Olle.

    If they delivered the news that really interests all of us they would see what is a HUGE response!!

  65. fgf9 says:

    It seems fgf9 is the reason why mice have showed success growing new hairs while humans don’t, they produce a lot of it, we don’t. Despite of that, maybe I got it wrong, it hasn’t been tested in humans so far and it is planned to START these trials in 2 years… 2 years??? just to start??? they can’t be serious. It’s ridiculous.

    • McJ says:

      Not sure where you got your info but there has been no timeline given for trials. And it’s no Follica’s M.O. to tell us anyway. But yeah, waiting sucks in general.

    • julian says:

      they said Follica’s Ceo had stated they were close to a final product but didn’t show where this information is.. forget it..

  66. McJ says:

    Probably unlikely we’ll get any further Follica news or updates in 2013 (or for a while after that for that matter) but Puretech Ventures have a presence at this;

    Not hugely likely anything comes of this and in fact, if we were to get any news, it could come from this in 2014;

    Several members of Follica will be at this but again, history would tell us not much info comes from these things, at least not to the general public. Here’s to 2014 folks! (and hopefully some announcements that we can get properly excited about)

  67. Aleluia says:

    2013 is almost over and we´re still bald my friends
    Hope 2014 something good happens

  68. McJ says:

    Well, this is interesting. Not Follica related I don’t think but George Cotsarelis is back in the news again;

    UPenn are invovled and trainspotters will notice some Follica related people namely Mayumi Ito (he appears on several Follica patents) but I’m not sure if Follica will have any involvement with this one. Maybe they will, who knows. Watch this space.

    • Froggy says:

      If I am not wrong Histogen is already working on wnt proteins for several years now.

      But is it exactly the same thing?

      If so maybe Follica will work on fgf9 AND wnt proteins to find the best solution.

      • McJ says:

        Yeah, I think you’re right about Histogen but I’m not sure if it’s the same thing. I think Follica, at least according to the very early articles, were/are working on the wounding, wnt pathway and have been for a while.

        But yeah, another piece to the puzzle. It will be interesting to see if Follica happened to respond to this latest research – given the people in the press release that have affiliations with Follica.

      • julian says:

        yeah. Another piece to the puzzle.. I just hope it’s not one of those 1.000 pieces puzzle and it’s just 3 pieces found and a bunch of chimpanzees trying to put it together.. hope it isn’t like that!!!

    • Froggy says:

      By the way thanks for this article and this new piece to the puzzle.

  69. McJ says:

    Could well see something from Follica regarding this – lots of mentions regarding WNT proteins and Sarah Millar is a scientific adviser/board member of Follica. Implications for hair growth, ceasing hair growth and potentially treating skin tumors.

    • McJ says:

      Here’s an article that lays it out in fairly plain english what this discovery means;

      How or even if this relates to Follica is debatable but it’s another vital piece of info no doubt.

      • julian says:

        This is consistent with what Cotsarelis had said before. But where all these things meet? I mean, there’s the fgf9, the prostaglandins, DHT, wnt, stem cells alive in bald spots… etc… and Follica’s work, which claims to being able to create new hair follicles. Now this research seems to be focused on reactivating the dormant ones and making them resume the production of normal big hairs. What to make of all these findings and is it possible that Follica is going to use them or they don’t need them if the can make good hair.. strange..

        • disappointed says:

          It all depends. And Cotsarelis does not = Follica. He is a founder, and has share in the company, but make no mistake about it, Follica is on its own. Conversely, if anyone at UPenn or elsewhere is going to continue to study skin and hair development (a big field) they are able to do so. Just because someone collaborates with George C. doesn’t mean the work is property of Follica.

          Probably safe to assume Follica is not going to throw their original wounding strategy in the trash if they claim to have had some success.

          • McJ says:

            Hello disappointed, you’ve been away a while. What did you make of the FGF9 announcement and the Xconomy article? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

            With regards to the latest bit of news, there are other Follica people besides Cots who are involved – namely Sarah Millar and Mayumi Ito. It seems like too much of a coincidence but then again, that’s a wild guess on my part.

          • disappointed says:

            The fgf9 is interesting because it’s druggable. If all the tech Follica is using is based on would healing and addition of a purified protein they will have a lot less obstacles to face than a stem cell or cell secretion mixture like Histogen. My only question, which I’m sure is top priority, is how big the wounds are. WHY a HT surgeon hasn’t simply tried minor wound healing and addition of Wnt, etc. on their own simply amazes me, might lead to a go or no-go scenario in most people’s minds.

            On the paper — As technologies go, if the phenomenon observed in mice works in human, great. The danger is the lack of mechanism. For example, if the tech simply didn’t work in human then we’d be asking why and noting that wounding historically has shown results in mice and rabbits and so on. In this case, the Miller-Cots collaboration is useful in that they can take on what Follica probably doesn’t have the power to do – basic biology to determine mechanism. That gives Follica the power to say why something did or did not work. Prior to this work, they couldn’t look at human gdTcells or if Fgf9 was suddenly appearing at the wound site, but now they can look. Also, choosing Wnt as a protein additive may provide obstacles. However, there will be a lot less resistance to trials with Fgf9 if (big if) it’s known it is the agent naturally shed by gdT-cells at a wounding site in humans.

            In theory, should be simple enough for Follica to get a license to any Fgf9 patent (UPenn of course wants Follica to succeed, they’d own a %).

            Problem, as always, is that this seems to be mouse work. I don’t know why Follica hasn’t even published a short paper on results in human. Probably because they know its such a emotional powder keg. Let’s face it – guys are pioneers, protect their families, and start wars…. all because of one little molecule called testosterone (ironically the source of hair loss). They(follica) learned their lesson and clearly don’t want to tick off guys with MPB.

            Overall, more optimistic on this than before because hair growth and wound healing is seen across species but more importantly is that this is a platform.

          • McJ says:

            As ever, really great insights there. Thanks again. I guess we can safely summarize it as cautious optimism! More caution than optimism is still best but yeah, some interesting things to ponder there.

            I think you’ve nailed perfectly why Follica haven’t shown the results of those human trials – well, one, they are under no obligation to do so but it’s just such a hot button issue and after the initial 2008 discovery and news hype, I think they got a little burned and have learned to, as Olle says, ‘be careful about how we deliver the news because there’s all these huge responses’. Plus it was a very targeted release of news. Aside from Huffpost catching wind of it months later, it didn’t appear in any mainstream media – with the exception of the WSJ. That’s a point I’d like to get back to later.

            I do take them at their word when they say they’ve been able to do this in humans so that’s a huge plus in terms of how they hoped this would translate in humans. There are all sorts of other questions as to how good or how terminal the hair is but the fact that they’ve found that humans can do this is great.They have said that preclinical tests have been done with FgF9 but I thought that was an odd one because they’ve known about the FgF9 thing since at least 2009.


            Is a lot of the work not done before a patent is filed?

            But back to the WSJ piece. It was basically a reprint of the marketwatch article. Why be so specific with targeting the WSJ? Surely to drum up some more cash, no? Because aside from Xconomy, no mainstream news source got wind of it. Apart from huffpo but even then, it didn’t go beyond huffpo. The last piece of news was from here;


          • disappointed says:

            Welcome, I don’t stress on this like I used to, but hope that the investors aren’t so nearsighted. That is one place a Robert Langer type helps, he’s gone down the long road of getting tissue engineering and stem cells into the clinic and its not like a drug or medical device where the payoff/indicators are more akin to what VCs like.

            No idea on why the article is in WSJ but if they (follica) are getting results and need cash, they have a team who will bring in money without a problem.

            On fgf9 and the patent, it may have been mentioned as a potential factor (e..g an obvious secreted protein to try, based on the literature, to someone trained in the art). And there must be precedent of fgf9 and wound healing on some level. What this Miller paper found was more specific on mechanism. Sometimes there are players present that we know of but it may be years until you find the source and mechanism (in this case gd T-cells recruited to a wound site)

          • McJ says:

            I see. The reason I brought up the patent and when it came out was because I thought (and perhaps was naively hoping) that maybe they were further ahead with the FgF9 experiments/trials than they were letting on. They did, after all, do clinical trials largely on the quiet.

            Interesting you bring up Langer. They don’t mention him as being connected to Follica on the follicabio website but they do mention him as being with Follica on the puretech website along with Entrega and Gelesis. I linked to an event on this page that is happening in the New Year where several Follica related people happen to be speaking. William Ju is one of them but it mentions his involvement with them in the past tense. I didn’t think much of it at the time but is it perhaps possible that someone like Langer could take over the CEO position at Follica if they were close to bringing something to market? He’d certainly be a big name to have at the front of any type of media event. He also has his foot in the hair care market if I’m not mistaken.

            I’m speculating so wildly here, it’s probably not fair to ask for your input on that. A solid fact I did find out though was that Follica did hire a new Executive Chairman last year. Dr Neal Walker. He has an interesting background to say the least.

          • disappointed says:

            No, Langer taking a role as a CEO is simply never going to happen. He’s a legend in biotech/drug delivery and probably has a net worth in the hundreds of millions (if not more half a billion $). The reason I mention him is he likely does sit in on at least the occasional board meeting, and his thoughts/advice would have major impact. No offense to Zohar but she’s very green, the newbie in the room and all money manager (even if these VCs talk science, they are full it, they just want to multiply money whether its tissue engineering or a porn website). So another way to say it is what Follica wants could take time, and VCs get impatient and, sometimes, cut the cord when the going gets tough and positive results are just over the hill. Langer would know this from both the scientist/inventor and investor side of things and hopefully give Follica the best shot they could hope for. Follica may still fail, but hopefully not for stupid VC decisions.

            Nothing against Ju, but he’s fairly meaningless unless he comes up with some great business model or helps leverage a buy up by e.g. Merck. Otherwise its the scientists and clinicians in a bubble, so let’s hope the have some hits. All the rest who sit on the board aren’t stupid, but they’re getting a condensed version of what is going on every 6-8 weeks and likely 2-3 ‘top guys’ in the room make the decision on whether they like what they see. It’s when there are 4-5 board meetings in a row spanning half a year of nothing but bad news where real wisdom from a langer type needs to be exercised (e.g. are these birthing pains of a new startup or has the tech, based on hard core science, really gone to sh*t).

            Keep in mind biology is not easy, we simply don’tknow all the principles involved in how a cell functions. That’s why we sent someone to the moon in the 60’s but have taken so long to make a dent in some diseases.

          • McJ says:

            Ok, cool, that’s certainly set a few things straight. Thanks for those insights. I think it’s a good thing to know to that, even if (big ‘if’ as you say) things go well, this could still be – what – a few years at the very least. I think Follica are still the best shot by a long way but reading your last post, it does certainly dispel the myth that Follica – if you believe certain huffpo articles – are somehow close to market.

            I was never that convinced that a product was that close, I hoped but was never especially sold on it. Since reading the most recent articles. If they’ve only done preclinical work with fgf9 and even if they don’t have to go through as many hoops, that’s still something in the region of 3 years I guess. All going well. Not to complain if that is the case, that would be great but those huffpo articles get people unfairly hyped up.

  70. julian says:

    it will come!!! sooonnnn

  71. McJ says:

    Another day, another day another… you know what’s coming;

    A lot of deja vu with this one… specifically the ‘might translate into novel therapeutics for various human diseases’ bit.

    Good luck to them anyway. Even if they sound exactly like Follica in certain areas.

    disappointed, I don’t know if you saw this link;

    Any chance of Follica news do you think? Of course, if history has taught me anything, there’s not likely to be any Follica news here (or even for a long while) despite the presence of some key Follica folks.

    Anyway, happy holidays y’all. Here’s hoping to 2014 having some good news!

    • disappointed says:

      On the first link to those publications – I would not say that is in the same class as Follica. It may translate but Follica has a unique platform in that bioavailability,stem cell GMP practices, etc. are non-issues. For example, any company needing to grow and deliver stem cells of any type needs massive backing. Whereas Follica has a realistic approach of micro wounding+drug/growth factor addition, fast track compared to a standard drug.

      No idea on link #2 and Follica news. They know there are individuals aggressively seeking out info. Individuals who, quite frankly, are NOT beaten down from a tumor, chemo treatments, and struggling for quality time with their loved ones. Instead a lot of otherwise physically healthy individuals with nothing but time to vent and aggressively pursue! The well water has been tainted so I would not expect a peep from Follica unless there is a breakthrough or another round of investment leads to VCs who briefly justify their new investment with progress X and Y.

      • McJ says:

        Yeah, I’d meant more in the press release type sense in the similarities to Follica, not the tech. Follica, certainly, have designs outside of hairloss with regard to their tech. Those folks at USC were using similar language in that sense, talking about skin regeneration etc.

        The second point hits home something that’s been on my mind for a while now, certainly since that Fgf9 announcement. I’ve been guilty in the past of searching for any bit of Follica news I could find – hopefully (and I don’t think) not too aggressively. I squirm a little bit when I think about how once Daphne Zohar’s twitter account came to light, a bunch of guys (and they were almost certainly men) decide to bombard and insult her. Utterly pointless ramblings from solipsistic, self-entitled a-holes.

        Which brings me to now. The best bit of news in ages is the above Xconomy article. Any further info as you said is either an announcement of a breakthrough or further funding. There isn’t much else you can do except wait and as you very astutely point out, there are folks out there who are in much dire situations. A sense of perspective is often missing.

        I’ll check in periodically but for now, there’s no real rhyme or reason to be searching for grains of news or info. Follica are alive and well and they are the best shot in the near term for a viable hair loss solution. That’s reason enough to be thankful as that hasn’t been the case in the past. I hope you still continue to check in too, disappointed. As ever, thanks for your thoughts and your candor.

  72. Javier says:

    The CEO (William Ju) is out according to his LinkedIn profile. Looks like the party is over.

    • herzog says:

      He left back in July of 2013, about a month after the Fgf9 discovery was announced. They could easily be changing management to better handle their new model. His being gone changes nothing.

  73. julian says:

    what came out of the Dermsummit conference, anyone knows? I suppose ZERO information from Follica, as usual.

    • pissedoff says:

      off course nothing… these conferences are bullshit, worthless, they’ll never give nothing new.

  74. julian says:

    Replicel almost every day posts something regarding their progress.. it’s the exact opposit of Follica.

  75. [email protected] Extensions says:

    For having better hair regular therapy of hair is essential. It’s help for increasing the lifetime of your hair. So if we can properly getting therapy of our hair we must be benefited. Hope it will be providing best service for our hair.

  76. McJ says:

    Just to add to the William Ju exit and it’s been posted elsewhere but Follica would appear to have a new CEO;

    It would appear to be Neal Walker and he has a pretty impressive background as detailed in the comments here. I’d guess there might be something official when they’re ready to announce their next piece of news.

    • julian says:

      William Ju is cited as director now. So he is still in the company?

      • McJ says:

        Oh, I’ve no idea man. I mean, the link says he’s still a director there so I guess that’s the case. At the very least, I’d still expect him to be a board member. Just hoping that the new CEO takes Follica across the finish line.

        I imagine, again I’m guessing, something will be formally announced if and when Follica are ready to talk again.

  77. McJ says:

    Some further stem cell news today…

    If you read the first link,it does mention injuries like a burn causing mature cells to revert back to stem cells. Something Follica and Cots have known for a while but this latest discovery goes way beyond hair loss. Exciting stuff.

  78. puto says:

    quando esses filhos da puta vao lançar essa merda???

  79. desperado says:


  80. beatleswig says:

    Mister Cotsarelis please Mr. Cots look and seeIf there’s something in your lab for me
    I been waiting such a long time
    Since I heard you’d fill my receding line

    There must be some word today
    From Follica that’s always so far away
    Please mister Cots take a look and see
    If there’s a hairier, a hairier future for me
    I been standing here waiting mister Cots
    So patiently
    For just a word to just feel better
    Saying my hair’s returning home to me

  81. McJ says:

    Well, it’s not news and it’s certainly not going to assuage the doubters but it’s a response at least. Puretech addressed some Follica queries on their twitter feed.

    ‘Advancing’ is better than nothing and in the near term, Follica are the best bet.

    But it’s still a bet. Anything else is likely 10 years plus away. Keep your fingers crossed and with a bit of luck, there may be something. Hopefully the something we’ve been waiting for. Hollering at them and berating them achieves nothing. It’s can be cathartic to vent I guess but you have to be thankful there’s at least the possibility of something on the horizon.

    • julian says:

      Couldn’t be more vague… is advancing the development… will update when we have news… but thanks to that vagueness we are here. I just think they could be a little, just a little less vague. Wouldn’t do any harm.

      • McJ says:

        It might though, maybe that’s why they’re being so cautious. I don’t know.

        I rather this than a missing or postponing a certain date or timeline. I’d love more info too, I’d love some certainty. But we’re not gonna get it until they’re certain I suppose. I think my whole thing now is, I can’t do anything about so there’s no point in fretting over it. It sucks but as I said, there’s potentially something on the horizon. That’s something at least.

        • speakfollica says:

          … consistently create substantial amount of hair follicles.. they can do it, as they claimed. It was said also that these hair follicles function normally and produce normal hair.. Then, what is missing?? if they can produce significant amounts of normal new hair follicles the problem is solved isn’t it? put this goddamned product/device to work finally… there are billions of people in the world avidly waiting to use it, or this guys don’t know that?

          And there are those who think that a “cure” for baldness would never be available cause that wouldn’t be as profitable as the current treatments that have to be taken for life. Bullshit, don’t you realize that if there was a real good treatment that could make a real difference, many more people, if not everyone in the world would go after it and would be willing to pay much much more money for this solution. A large amount, maybe 90 percent of the hair loss sufferers don’t do nothing and don’t spend a dollar because they know the results are not worth it. A really nice solution to this mankind-old problem – THAT IS FAR FROM BEING ONLY COSMETICAL – IT AFFECTS HEALTH, IT AFFECTS THE LIFE of millions and millions of people (for the retards that still didn’t get it) – would certainly make a greatest fortune in the history of pharma.

          • hairlover says:

            you know what is cosmetical? cosmetical is when I decide if I color my hair or not, if I cut it short or use it longer, if I part it from the side or in the middle, if I use gel or prefer it dry, these are cosmetical issues!!!! if I can’t choose the way I have my hair, If I am forced to shave my head or look like Bozo isn’t a cosmetical matter!!! it is a tragedy!!! it will make on sadder, it will ruin ones self esteem for life, this isn’t cosmetical!! this is well being, heath, mental health, this can affect life in so many aspects. The ones that really suffer and miss their hair know what I’m talking about. There are people who really need their hair!!!

  82. fuckedup says:

    advancing the development… ow my god, really?? thank you pure tech!!!

    • believer says:

      medicine is a shame!! finasteride was the last thing they discovered BY CHANCE and it was 20 years ago. Since then NOTHING!!! Minoxidil BY CHANCE 30 years ago!!! Latisse BY CHANCE too!!! So we are in the hands of luck, not of science.

      • fuckedup says:

        20-30 years without an innovation is a shame indeed. Doctors are second grade scientists.. I bet if physics had an interest in something like that they’d have found a cure years ago!!

  83. keepthefaith says:

    hope Allergan makes it happen with their boosted new formula for bimatoprost whose trial is in progress. Hope they get it now and are able to provide a much better/stronger treatment than fin or minox.. If weak almost dead tiny follicles are turned into healthy again then it’ll be a big deal. If they can grow big again and resume production of thick, long, normal hair the cosmetical change would be noticeable and amazing. Guys with thinning hair would get them thicker and full again. Since it’s an already known drug I suppose it would be marketed pretty soon, all depending just if it’s effective. As for Follica, it’s like waiting for a miracle, like waiting a word of God..

    • fuckedup says:

      that’s what latisse did for the eyelashes, grew their follicles… it’s believed that despite eyelashes and hair follicles function differently, they have similarities as well, receptors are the same or something like that. So, it’s not impossible that bimatoprost can activate them again.

      • believer says:

        if it proves effective it will go to market right away, Allergan won’t miss their time and cash. This guys love and have loads of money!!

  84. Hopeisall says:

    If anyone wants to do some digging.

    Cosmetic use of organic resinates

  85. anxious says:

    Follica Touts Cure For Baldness With Breakthrough Technique

    The Huffington Post Canada | By Christian Cotroneo Posted: 09/05/2013

    Researchers say they are very close to unleashing a product that could finally draw the curtain on the dreaded comb-over.

    VERY CLOSE TO UNLEASHING A PRODUCT… Somebody could ask Christian Cotroneo if he really was told that… Very close… unleashing a product… It would be so good if he didn’t create this phrase on his own. If whoever from Follica has told this way it means they’re almost ready to market a treatment. But only Christian Cotroneo could assure us that he was given that answer.

    • McJ says:

      Likely just media hyperbole. Read nothing into that as Follica would not have said something like that. They’ve been especially careful recently regarding press statements and have not given timelines. Read below in the comments for the last thing they said. It was a twitter response amounting to ‘we’re advancing the development and we’ll let you know when we have news about timelines or updates’

      All you can do is wait and hope for the best, Ignoring media headlines like the huffpost one is for the best as all they want is to attract you with a catchy headline. Very little based in fact.

      • anxious says:

        That’s why I think he should be asked… then he won’t need to impress nobody, can be sincere and tell exactly what he was told.. I don’t know. The guy is bald and should have an interest himself… maybe he was told that, very close isn’t a timeline, it’s vague anyway, but really promising if it is true. It implies that they’re working in the final steps already, it means they’re probably done with trials and research and are now preparing a market strategy… I don’t know.. I really hope this guy got this information the way he put it down. VERY CLOSE.. PRODUCT…

  86. Matthew Poitras says:

    My personal outlook fantasy:

    Follica indicated they were beginning a new phase 2 with the Fg9 discovery back in November. I’m estimating a phase 2 clinical trial at around 2.5 years, then a phase 3 trial around 3 years. Back to the old 5 year cliche.

    On Sept 17 2013, Histogen said they got a US patent on HSC. The article says they are still testing it. I’ll say three more years of phase 2, then 3 years of phase 3. So about a year after my Follica estimate.

    Then of course Replicel. Shiseido bought the rights a few months back and announced they are just now beginning clinical trials. I’d give them at least 8 years out.

    Latisse is a wild card to me. Their first trial on Latisse failed miserably but they are very rich and very powerful. If upping the dosage works in this next trial they may be another contender but who knows. As of now they have nothing so whatever.

    • anxious says:

      I don’t know how this guys don’t get that the pathway is that of Latisse, if it works for eyelashes, then if not the same substance, but an analogue or similar should do the same for hair follicles of the scalp. It’s obvious, then study it better, try things, not in rats but in humans, that’s why it takes so long, they use a model that is completely different from man. Rats have fur, not hair for Christ’s sake.. that’s why they never get it right. I’d be a volunteer whenever they wanted, before rats.. send me everything you’ve got and I try them for you suckers!!!

    • Hopeisall says:

      Follica don’t have to go through the same extensive testing when they are using known and studied drugs. The normal rules do not apply. Although they have only admitted publicly to pre-clinical testing of FGF9, they have been aware of its uses in mice after wounding since 2008;

      Follica may not be as far out as one might think.

      • j.m says:

        I really hope this guys save us soon. Not have that much time and need my hair beautiful more than ever.. thanks for remembering this Hopeisall

      • anxious says:

        That’s what pisses me off… if they know since 2008 why hasn’t they tried this already, in humans??? it’s unbelievable!! that’s why it never happens.. I can’t believe it hasn’t been tested yet, really..

  87. julian says:

    Cotsarelis said 2 to 3 years in 2008.. if all went well… it’s 6 years since then.. obviously all didn’t go well. It’s impossible to know anything. This fgf 9 is known to them since their initial statements, 2008, but they never mentioned it until last year, like it was a discovery. Why they didn’t mentioned it in 2008? why they say it still has to be tested, after 6 years??!! odd!!!! Really strange… don’t know what to believe anymore or if they should be trusted.

    • nick says:

      i just feel follica will come to market with good final product, make brand new hair , also make weak hair strong again, they say that in there latest patent. march 20 2014

      • Boston says:


          • McJ says:

            I believe Boston has already covered this. I think, and it’s in the discussions below, this is the US version of the worldwide patent or something. Maybe Boston can clarify.

            Hopeisall posted a patent link that I believe you’re referring to Julian, the whole FgF9 thing going back to 2008. I have no idea how these things work so perhaps there’s a reasonable explanation for it. ‘disappointed’ might the person to answer this. Interestingly (or maybe not), the most recent scientist article on Follica…


            had a link to the 2008 fgf9 patent in the comments section. That comment no longer appears. Could’ve been scrubbed possibly? In any event, all we can do is wait and keep our fingers crossed.

          • julian says:

            it’s really strange having this knowledge since 2008 and only publish it in 2013 as it was new and say that it has never been tried, after 5 years, knowing it could make a big difference in the results. I get really sad with things like that. Hope they’re hiding stuff. Why it wasn’t tried yet?? if it was discovered last year ok.. but 5 years ago??? at this pace we will never see a treatment from this company. They don’t care it seems.

          • McJ says:

            It could well be all some sort of subterfuge type thing – I hope it is! But from everything I’ve picked up over the years following this story and following it on Xconomy with all you folks, it’s likely biology and science and how complicated it is getting from point A to point B…

            It probably seems simple to the lay person but people in the field know the terrain a lot better and the complications that come with that. ‘disappointed’ was great for that type of info, If you haven’t followed his responses on this thread, you should, they’re very informative. I think, given the potential money involved for a truly effective hair loss treatment (and even a hair reduction treatment), they do care. Because whoever gets there first will be rich, rich rich. I’m sure they’re going as fast as they can.

            I personally have found it better not to worry about this as I can’t do anything about it. I’m thankful that a solution is, at the very least, on the horizon. I’m a fairly infrequent visitor these days and I’m happier for it. I get pangs every now and again but I kinda realize that when, and I think it is a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’, they do release this to the public, it’ll be front page, six o clock news type of big. So, all I can do is wait and hope Follica are going to surprise us soon. But i totally get the frustration at the same time.

          • disappointed says:

            Hi McJ – I agree, worrying is not good. Doesn’t speed up anything. Though I hope dissatisfaction by younger generations helps spur change along the lines of dismantling a lot of the red tape or inventing a way for smarter testing reagents before they get to humans (e.g. organ on a chip).

            With regard to the patent status, it could be a few things at play. Number one, if you have a lab discovery and blab about that discovery at a meeting the US is nice enough to give you up to one year post-public disclosure to file a patent but you’ve also, naively, given up your world wide rights to that patent. So better option is to file a patent which might delay things a month or so and then publish or even wait longer to publish if you have raw data to patent ASAP and then another year or more for polished results for a fancy publication in a top journal.

            The patent itself, even from academia, doesn’t have to be work that is ultimately published in a peer review journal, so a discovery that is filed in 08 can take years to be reviewed and then disclosed to the public. When the whiff of that new patent comes out suddenly a “science journalist” picks up on it and tells the world. Not saying that happened here, just that patenting something is not like renewing a drivers license an hour before work.

            The fact that Follica has arguably one of the top hair follicle development people on their board, that guys like Langer sit on their board, funding even in a bad climate. I’d love to see a paper on what’s been accomplished but they aren’t sharing and that makes sense. If word got out that Follica was doing great a company like Merck could decide to compete and crush them. Hopefully, ideally, Follica will release some data and the “me too” mentality among other companies will take hold. Competition would really help those in need of HT.

            The one thing I find amazing is why a hair loss therapy lab that uses e.g. plasma replacement therapy, with the right infrastructure in place, isn’t conducting their in-house kitchen trials.

            Don’t know if I answered your questions. But feel free to post specific ones if you want my two cents. I’ll try to check again this week.

          • julian says:

            I’d like to know what you think of the chances that Follica is doing great? is their silence a good sign or a bad one, after all this time??

          • disappointed says:

            The chances are probably in favor of Follica having some positive result. The economy does suck, and unlike the past where a slow death could occur and all the investors money went bye-bye after 5+ years, these days if there are no results forthcoming investors can pull the plug. So there is something there that (and I’m embarrassed to write this) that is making the dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks investors feel there is still some potential to make $$. That’s not written in stone, but my gut feeling. Cots & co., if successful, would be a service company but stem cell/tissue engineering companies are growing in number and successes. I mean really, we’re talking about a target site that is effectively exposed to air. If the original patent of wound healing is broad and easy to defend Follica will have the motivation to move forward while testing reagents that are generation 2, 3, 4 and so on

          • McJ says:

            Hey disappointed, my first reply got lost somehow. Anyway, thanks for those insights. It’s always good to get your perspective on this.

            I don’t really have too much to add. I think I mentioned in my initial reply that most folks would love some sort of reassurance from Follica that they’re nearly ready to market but that’s gonna happen. I do reckon the next piece of news from Follica might give an indication of what sort of time frame we’re looking at.

            I was wondering though about your last comment regarding the original patent and how broad it is. What does testing the reagents that are generation 2, 3, 4 and so on mean?

          • disappointed says:

            I know this thread is getting long. So on your question I mean that the initial hurdle may be getting approval for wounding + application of a Wnt protein (not sure, just a guess). Once that method is approved, Follica could be sitting pretty IF the patent is THAT broad — wounding and addition of factor X.

            A patent is not the right to work on anything you want. A patent gives someone the right to block someone else from working on something. So, IF (if, if , if) Follica shows some promise with a system of wounding and adding a protein/drug/virus it would be a nice score. Basically like me having a patent on band-aids. You have an invention that consists of an antibiotic that is soaked into the fibers of the band-aid? Great, but you aren’t selling that unless I get a piece – if you don’t pay, I get a court order and stop you in your tracks.
            Maybe Follica will crash and burn, but if wounding fundamentally improved hair growth vs Wnt alone, now they have a platform that they can plug in drug X, Y and Z etc. and likely with shorter approval times for the 2nd 3rd and 4th etc. drug.

            Something more close to home – if you and I had built a prototype that was a blackberry-style device the size of a cadillac 20 years ago, and we decided we could afford a patent but didn’t have $$ to get manufacturing done, we could just sit on the patent. 12 years later Blackberry is hot and we come along and tell the makers of Blackberry — you have to back pay us for the 7 years you’ve been in business and every year forward until our patent covering the tech expires. If not, we’ll get a judge to shut down your sales. Follica may be hush hush because they need to really secure a patent for a platform, a platform for which 100 drugs could be tested. Ideally a lot of those drugs will be off patent so Follica will be even safer and not have to share, but drugs without that wounding method may only ever be as good as minoxidil.

            Need to get back to work but love to talk shop.

          • McJ says:

            Genuinely, it’s fascinating to read. I really do appreciate your posts. I think it adds necessary layers to a situation that a lot of people think is much more straight forward than it really is. It certainly not as black and white as it looks

            The whole patent thing is super interesting and you’ve given a great explanation of how something like that works. If Follica ever do make it to market with a truly game changing product, the story of how they got there will be a great read. Fingers crossed.

  88. baldtruth says:

    In 2000 Spencer Kobren published his book The Bald Truth.. it should be outdated by now, 14 years later, but NO… it isn’t since then there was nothing new, it’s the same treatments available, so the book is still the best source of information about baldness and hairless… the slowness of medicine amazes me and it’s understandable.. they take so long, even knowing that a discovery is so promising like in this case of the fgf9, to even start testing it, the process is so damned slow, that it takes an eternity until it can become useful and help the sufferers. It’s really frustrating.

    • disappointed says:

      1. Who will lead this work, who is the team (are they reliable, can they even reproduce the published work? (e.g. see recent fiasco on STAP cells). It may be that administering the reagent 3 times a day for 6 months shows no improvement, is that the kill point?
      2. How will the human fgf9 be produced? In mammalian cells and under GMP at which facility/company?
      2B. At what cost?
      3. And how often will it be administered and for how many people?
      4. Who owns the intellectual property? If someone at university X does, will they have to take a license to other patented tech to administer the fgf9? Is human fgf9 under a broad patent itself?
      5. What are the dangers/side effects? Any indication that fgf9 may result in cancer? Anyone with hair loss now may not care but I can point you to 1000+ posts of angry people who feel Propecia merely “killed their sex life.” I can assure you cancer is much worse.
      6. Where will the work take place and what is the one year end goal?

      Finally, who will pay for this? A small study with salaries, overhead, etc. could easily run hundreds of thousands of dollars… and that’s just the start. Who will take the risk when they know they are going down a long costly road. Venture capitalists are money managers and biology doesn’t pay off quickly, there is no quick flip.

      Just trying to put it in perspective. Sure, we’d all the department of “throw sh*t to the wall and see what sticks” but until someone like Peter Thiel or others build some kind of Libertarian test site offshore, aint gonna happen.

      • bald truth says:

        In your opinion what are the chances Follica already knows fgf9 works perfectly in human scalp and are further than they’ve admitted in their trials?

        • disappointed says:

          I have not read what the absolute latest info out of Follica is. You may have thrown the word “perfectly” in there by accident, but nobody on earth would have a therapy that is perfect, and which all patient respond to equally.

          To get to Phase I you need some proof of concept in a lab (for example, human skin grafted onto a mouse) and then go for Phase I. Phase I is only for safety and if fgf9 is in that trial, as far as I know it would have to be in their investigational new drug (IND) application for the clinical trial.

          I am admittedly curious about what Follica has observed with patients, but they can’t switch gears mid-stream. With fgf9, if there was low confidence/no tests in some mouse model to begin with, it may be left out of trials unless fgf9 applied to human wounds has been approved in the past for other reasons.

          • baldtruth says:

            Fgf9 is not a drug, it’s a protein, already present in human body. By perfectly I meant it would repeat the results seen in mice, just that.

          • disappointed says:

            Mesenchymal stem cells extracted from patient bone marrow and injected into e.g. liver to lower cholesterol — Investigational New Drug (IND) application necessary

            T cells isolated from patient blood, modified with a virus carrying a gene, then reintroduced into the bloodstream to attack cancers—- Investigational New Drug (IND) application necessary

            Small molecule/new chemical entity isolated from the flower petals of a dandelion weed and ingested to lower blood pressure — IND application necessary.

            I’m in R&D and away of what a protein is, but any protein utilized for therapy is classified as a drug.

            Results in mice would not constitute perfection, not by a long shot. 50 million years of divergent evolution is why a lot of things that work in mice fail in human. However, mouse tests are what are needed. Even if Follica has results in mice, those might be a far cry from the procedure that will be executed in human. E.g. we aren’t going to make transgenic humans from birth with scalp specific production of fgf9.

  89. pissedoffwithmedicinesuckers says:

    look at that: they seem to have found a very promising maybe almost potential cure for blood cancer BUT… it will be a long road BECAUSE they’re worried about safety, FOR A PERSON THAT IS WITH CANCER.. is there any logic in that? ow no, we won’t give you that cause it may be harmful, dangerous… wow yeah??? more harmful and dangerous than cancer??? really?? So we’ll test it first in mice.. I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure mice also should have been cured from cancer too, and all diseases that you might think of just because nobody cares about their safety.

    • disappointed says:

      “pissed off with medicine suckers?” Medical doctors and researchers aren’t the ones suing everything in sight, or the ones responsible for the stack of paperwork everyone should have filed by the 15th. The safety concern is there because how much of the drug to give is a black box. Day 1 of testing could have very well resulted in 1/2 of the patients dieing off. Rare, but it happens.

  90. McJ says:

    Something a little different and hopefully a sign of great things in the future;

    • baldtruth says:

      yeah, in the year 2250 it will be a reality. This isn’t good news, it will be good news maybe in a unknown day in the future. The need is for good news now, that can make a difference now. I’m sick and tired of these good news for the future kind of news. But thank you anyway.

      • julian says:

        It means probably less hurdles to scientific studies with stem cells, so it’s to celebrate indeed. Things may go a bit faster from now on.

      • donknow says:

        That’s why people get less and less interested when there’s these kinds of news. They know they won’t benefit from them. Look at this last Follica/Cotsarellis update, only 254 comments, most of them expressing some level of frustration or doubt. If you pick the previous ones you’ll find more than 2000 comments. I think that speaks for itself. When we hear that a baldness cure is close we get excited, but after hearing that same thing more than 20 times and seeing nothing happen anyone starts to not care anymore.

  91. julian says:

    She worked on Follica, now has her own company. Dr. William Ju was CEO, got out. Now it’s Neal Walker. I wonder if George Cotsarelis still contributes there. Follica is a complete blackbox.

  92. Vikki says:

    New, functioning skin from adult stem cells….
    “Researcher Dr Theodora Mauro said it would help the study of skin conditions such as ichthyosis – dry, flaky skin – or eczema.

    “We can use this model to study how the skin barrier develops
    normally, how the barrier is impaired in different diseases and how we
    can stimulate its repair and recovery,” she said.”

    This can only be good news, since part of the skin is the good ol’ follicle.

  93. pedro says:

    When William Ju entered this company, it was all excitement and optimism.

    Now a new CEO assumes without a word from them. Why did Ju leave the team? Why this company is so damned secretive? There are thousands of guys considering doing a hair transplant, which is expensive and ridiculous in terms of results, and they can’t even give an idea, say wait a little, we’re close to deliver something good for you, we can’t tell you how close but we’re close!! I don’t know how they could tell us, but there should be a way. Say at least in which phase they are. That would help. Why can’t we know nothing, absolutely nothing??????

    • johndeere says:

      Can a drug applied to scalp bring back all of one’s hair that was lost? I think so. Latisse/bimatoprost did that to the eyelashes which is a kind of hair isn’t it? So another kind of prostaglandin, PGD2 probably, or another (try them all!!) should do the same with hair of the scalp and bring weak, dormant (there’s no dead ones, it has been proved by Cotsarelis himself) follicles back to life again!! Isn’t there a fucking sign screaming in front of these guys pointing this way??? Is it that hard to find a bald guy and rub PGD2 on his head and see what happens???

  94. Boston says:

    Relatively easy read.

    “Current work is now focused on demonstrating that in human follicles, already identified GPR44 inhibitors also can reverse the hair growth inhibition by PGD2”

    • McJ says:

      Yep, interesting. I just hope he gets the funding he needs to find that needle. Always wondered why Follica didn’t snap up Garza too as he seems just as influential as Cots. But hey, maybe Follica don’t need him! Keep those fingers and toes crossed!

    • julian says:

      If it could be tested rapidly it would be great but we know these things take a lot of time so although we may be lucky enough to have a cure already, we shall wait years. Sorry, but I’m getting less and less excited with these things. The good news is always for the future. It’s always a step further.

  95. nick says:

    looks like follica is dead, come back in tens years

    • julian says:

      I give up. So they need 2 million dollars to get a better treatment than minoxidil or propecia and that seems like a hurdle? 20 million to get a full head of hair and that seems like impossible?? bullshit, they have nothing. What is 20 million dollar investment to get a CURE for this shit?? BIG BULLSHIT!!! I just regret having hoped this mother… had something better than this to say, after so much time.

  96. McJ says:

    I think this qualifies as Follica news. I got tipped off to a hairloss website just now – perhaps what Nick is alluding to quite gloomily below. You can see it here on this link;

    Basically this guy called Desmond was crowdfunded to fly out to S.Korea to get the skinny on the latest Hair loss developments at the World Hair Congress. Now, you can read for yourself but the gist is that Follica may be some way off giving you a ‘cure’. Something in the region of 10 years but that something could be released, if they had the funding, in a much smaller time frame that would be better than Minox or Propecia but not a full head of hair type ‘cure’. That would take about 20 million and 10 more years apparently.

    Soo, there ya go. The full post is worth reading. Not all doom and gloom. There may be some real hope for the future. It is of course possible that Cots is just saying this to throw people off the scent but I doubt it. At leasr if you’re a teen concerned about losing your locks or something, you don’t have that long to wait!

    • fuckedup says:

      let’s wait and hope the asthma trials with prostaglandins produces some hair as sides.. woww.. and this guy is the world greatest authority on the field.. we’re pretty fucked my friends…

  97. McJ says:

    ‘disappointed’, if you have any thoughts on this, it would be great to hear it.

    I think if there was something better than minox or propecia on the market, it would be huge. Like, properly huge. Maybe not all doom and gloom here. Especially if Cots thinks that there is a potential cure still in Follica’s tech.

    • julian says:

      I’m not disappointed but I couldn’t be more disappointed. I think now we can forget about it finally. So they burned 20 million dollars and have something a little better than minoxidil, after all that hype!! great job!!!!

      • McJ says:

        Put it this way, isn’t it odd that after so much silence on the subject, we suddenly get quite a bit of info from the horse’s mouth? That’s one way of looking at it, maybe this is some type of subterfuge but I personally don’t believe that. All the same, we still don’t have much of an idea of what Follica can do – though they claim to be able to create new follicles in humans, which is very significant.

        I think Follica got people’s hopes up way too much back in 2008 so I can understand a potential backlash coming after this recent news but having something approaching a cure in 10 years or so is nothing to sniff at. Better than nothing. It would be good if Xconomy covered this news in some way.

        • julian says:

          I think this talk was really odd. Cotsarelis wouldn’t say a thing like that that way. Say they’re out of money??? need 2 million dollars?? or 20 million??? looks awkward… or was he drunk when the guy talked to him??

          • McJ says:

            See, either it was a completely unguarded moment – which is possible – or it’s just to throw this guy of the scent. Very hard to know.

            I mean, the market currently for hairloss products is roughly in excess of 10 billion. Products that are frankly crap. If you had a procedure that was even slightly better than minox or propecia, why wouldn’t you release it now and then release something better later. Use those funds to further fgf9. I don’t get it. Perhaps I’m missing something. The current market, which apparently only accounts for 10% of it is billions and yet…no product.

            I dunno. It’s not like puretech have difficulty finding money;


      • McJ says:

        I’d love ‘disappointed’ to throw in his two cents. Part me thinks the numbers don’t add up. If you have something better than what is currently on the market – which rakes in upwards of 10 Billion a year for not very good treatments – then why not release it and use those funds to pump money into fgf9 trials if that’s what will create a more fully realized, bald to full head of hair treatment.

        The more I think about, the more it doesn’t make sense to me. I’d love to hear a more enlightened opinion but years of being water tight with info and now all it took was a guy going to a conference and informally interviewing Cots and the floodgates open so to speak. Very strange to me

  98. Lurker says:

    Been a while, I really think Cots is telling the truth. I think he’s been trying in his own way to put out a cure and he realizes that they are close to getting somewhere, but that means very little. It’s probably frustrating. I think he also realizes he’s not good at two things. First, research dealing with the FDA is tough. The FDA slows down everything. He can’t effectively do research in a timely manner. Hence, why he brought up Rogaine and Rogaine foam and how long even that transition took. Second, he’s not good at raising money. Follica has raised money, but not enough to get them through the hurdles involved. Trials cost money, research costs money… lengthy research is extremely expensive. If he’s saying we could get you “something”, but it will be about on par or just a bit better than what already exists, it’s a tough sell to obtain cash.

    At the end of the day Cots is a researcher. He is paid to do research. I think he’s actually frustrated that what he’s shown can’t be put out soon. Frustrated that the trials he’s conducted could give us a new product very soon, but won’t due to the hurdles we already spoke of. He knows, of course, he could keep moving but is probably tired of the entire process and in order for him to continue, he knows he needs money. This isn’t a gimic. It’s probably legit. In my opinion, we’ll see them trying to obtain more soon.

    I understand his point of view completely. I don’t think he would have said anything at all if what he was saying wasn’t true. I don’t think we should expect to see even this propecia/rogaine style product any time soon.

    • McJ says:

      Yeah I’m inclined to agree with most of that. Still, it’s odd that after all these years, it took one person with a vested interest in hairloss to meet him and he’s spilled more in about 15 minutes than Follica have over 7 or 8 years.

      Bit of a bummer overall I guess.

      • Lurker says:

        Agreed. But, we all know how hyped this thing was from the get-go. Follica et al probably told him to stay quiet in the beginning. Years later, I assume he’s kinda frustrated, even with Follica. They were supposed to be his vehicle to get this stuff out and in all honesty, they clearly suck at doing that if they don’t have the money they need. He’s got something, but can’t get it to the masses because of the legal bureaucracy and monetary thresholds that stand in his way. He wants us to know that. So, that’s my guess on why he’s speaking out now. But, I should say, are we so sure he wouldn’t have spoken out in the past? Did anyone actually go to him in person and ask him questions? Probably not. It’s funny because I live near him… I actually thought about it early on. I probably should’ve followed through.

        • McJ says:

          Yeah, again, that’s probably not unreasonable to think that. Follica did come out with all guns blazing media wise and Cots himself said in that NBC piece, ‘yeah, if all goes well, we might have something in a few years’. I guess he looks a bit silly saying that although there was an ‘if’ in his answer.

          But, who knows whats really going on. I am inclined to go with your theory though. Unless someone with a bit more insight has any thoughts. On the point of him being asked, I’m sure he’s been asked quite a bit over the past 5 or 6 years. However, if it’s someone with a vested interested in hairloss who’s traveled all the way out to S.Korea, maybe he’s less inclined to BS them.

          I’m not naturally an optimist and I’d love to think that this is all some sort of misdirection but Follica were really the best shot in the short term. Unless Follica get another injection of funds or have some super surprise around the corner, I think it’s best to keep expectations at a low setting. Hopefully ‘disappointed’ can chime in. Love to hear his thoughts.

  99. McJ says:

    Though maybe just to add, there have been times in the past when Follica were thought to be have been dead and buried and that hasn’t turned out to be the case. It doesn’t sound great this time around but only time will tell on this one. I wonder do Xconomy keep tabs on this forum (and Follica) as it would be great to hear some official word.

  100. Froggy says:

    Maybe Replicel is close to finish phase 2 and thinking about starting phase 3 in a near future.
    “based on phase 2 results we would determine the best location for a phase 3 trial”
    “RepliCel’s licensing partner, Shiseido, opens cell processing center in Kobe today for hair loss trial”
    More details at:

    • Froggy says:

      Shiseido announces plans to open the
      Shiseido Cell-Processing and Expansion Center.
      The center, located in the in the Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster in
      Kobe, Japan, will centralize research and development on hair
      regenerative medicine with an AIM TOWARD COMMERCIALIZATION.

      Regenerative medicine in Japan is an emerging industry which the
      government aims to foster through NEW LEGISLATION and revisions to
      existing law as part of economic reform strategies, in order to advance
      in this field. Shiseido has a long history of conducting comprehensive
      research and WORKING TOWARDS COMMERCIALIZATION of the regenerative
      medicine for hair.

    • julian says:

      At least this company is very transparent about its progresses and development. Hope they get it. It will take some time but there’s promise to their tecnology. And being backed by Shiseido is good reason for optimism. If Follica had something really good they’d would have already found a big partner and wouldn’t be begging for 2 million dollars? If Cotsarelis really told that there’s nothing more to say. They’ve failed miserably!!

  101. allergansnext says:

    Let Follica and Cotsarelis go. Forget them. The thing with greatest potential, I think, is the PGD2. Other than this, The Replicel or the Germans idea of cloning follicles, which would solve the limitation and replace or enhance hair transplants. PGD2 or another prostaglandin, maybe even bimatoprost (waiting Allergan trials end maybe by the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015 we know), latanoprost or any prost.. these might be a good solution for mild cases, for thin hair. This dermabrasion Follica thing you can forget, it sucks.

    • McJ says:

      Seriously? Look, those are all good alternatives but Follica have been written off in the past and they’ve kept coming back. There are too many inconsistencies with that report from that guy on the hairloss forum. I’m sure he was actually there but there were too many contradictions with the report. It’s aint over till the fat lady sings and she very plainly hasn’t sung yet.

    • julian says:

      have an idea: it’s expensive though. But who knows? Bimatoprost and/or latanoprost injections like in mesotherapy rbut instead of using their bullshit cocktails of growth factors and minoxidil, use bimatoprost or latanoprost or both. Something like 1 or 2 mls a day. What’s needed is a intradermal injector, one of those guns where you put a syringe and needle and a lot of bimatoprost and latanoprost. The only problem is the cost of this experience. But I believe it should yield better results than minoxidil or finasteride alone.

      • McJ says:

        Plus why would Follica get a new CEO and make their ‘we can create new hair follicles’ announcement last year if they were a sinking ship? That interview that that Desmond guy got was utter nonsense. Has to be misdirection. I’ll say it again but time will tell with Follica.

  102. Froggy says:

    The race is launched.
    Clinical trials might be very quick in Japan:

    In November 2013, as one of the new economic reform strategies, the
    Japanese government passed the Regenerative Medicine Law, which ensures
    safety of regenerative medicine, and approved revisions to its existing
    Pharmaceutical Affairs Law to:
    – IMPROVE THE TIMELINES for the development
    of regenerative medicine

    Maybe this is good:
    – Histogen (if they are still alive) is also conducting clinical trials in Asia. But is it in Japan?
    – But more important remember that Replicel is propably already at the end of phase 2.

    • curious says:

      There is no way that these guys are the end of phase two… the article below refers to presenting phase 1 data in February. Also the fact that this was only an oral study and it didn’t release the data on the website seems super suspicious.

      Also, referring back to your article… you can choose what you wish from this sentence “Shiseido’s state-of-the-art facility will focus on the continued research and development, and the commercialization of RepliCel’s RCH-01 hair regeneration technology.” I chose to read it as that they are focused on R&D (research and development) more than commercialization.

      Again here, pick what you would like “…the island has been developed as a focal point for research and development of highly advanced medical technologies with the goal of streamlining processes from research to clinical application and commercialization.”

      To me it seems like they are setting themselves up in a specific area where they are supported by R&D.

      And not to rag on you or anything, but seeing as we are internet junkies we should try to take the 5 minutes of research necessary before making bold statements of companies are finishing phase 2 trials when they have only just completed phase 1.

      And finally, to answer your question, Histogen (if I remember correctly) is in Malaysia but my memory could be bad and it could be the Philippines or Indonesia.

      • Froggy says:

        Excuse me!
        1) I’am not making bold statement. I just posted a little maybe with 3 links so you can read it and think what you want.
        2) Maybe is maybe. It is not a bold statement.
        3) If you want to do some research about other links you can but you missed somes.
        4) Speeking of bold statement what you are saying about phase 1 is also a bold statement.
        This is not because Replicel presented phase 1 results in february that phase 1 has just finished in february and that phase 2 has not begun several months ago.
        – Let me use your words “And not to rag on you or anything, but seeing as we are internet junkies
        we should try to take the 5 minutes of research necessary before making
        bold statements”:
        – There is a video of David Hall presenting interim data six month results from phase 1 from may 2012.
        The oral presentation of february is not suspicious because we had a slide of a presentation at the Waldorf Astoria from october 2012 (about phase 1) speaking of the upcoming phase 2 (at this time planned with 108 male patients) with a lot of data, pictures, facts about the process about phase 1 first results… And Replical already have a big partner.
        – Replicel is for sure in Canada (Vancouver), Germany (Berlin), Japan (Kobe). Are you absolutly sure that phase 1 has just finished in february and that they not already in phase 2 in one of those countries? Specially now that we know that Japan wants to improve timelines about this technology and we know that this technology needs only a few weeks from the injection to see the efficacity (phase 2 goal is dosage and of course efficacity).

        Based on that I am just saying that Replicel sayed:
        – Japanese government passed a law to improve timeline on regenerative medecine (including hair regeneration).
        – According to Replicel tweeter account “based on phase 2 results we would determine the best location for a phase 3 trial”. MAYBE this is a good sign to talk about an hypothetic phase 3 about a technology that show efficacity a few weeks after the first injections (except about cycling of course but this technology is tested in phase 1 from at least early 2012).
        – A research center opened in Japan with the aim of commercialization (so this is not a basic research in some unknown university without any preclinical trial or just on some mouse).

        You can’t tell that this is bad news!!! This is just news.

        I’am not saying they have a cure or they failed.
        I am just trying to bring some links with a possibility that this is good news because every one seems to be a little bit depressive after Aderans failed and those RUMORS about follica failling.

    • joseph says:

      The race? the race of snails!!!

  103. McJ says:

    I guess there’s been a little bit of negativity after that guy on the hairloss forum ‘interviewed’ Cots but there were so many inconsistencies and a lot of stuff didn’t add up. Anyway, the guy who went out to S.Korea has been posting videos and I see this latest one has Cots go into detail about fgf9 and the Dkk1 thing that come out in January of this year.

    Bottom line is Follica is in the game until they say otherwise.Until there’s something in the clinic, I peronally won’t believe it but I think the positives outweigh the negatives at this point in time. The process, as detailed in the article above, works in humans and that’s huge in itself. How well it works is another question but perhaps fgf9 is a good indicator for further trials. Follica gets a name check towards the end of the presentation but the whole thing is worth watching.

    • disappointed says:

      Thanks for posting the video. This is much more substantial vs a casual interview/article. I don’t know of the interview you are referring to that is a downer, but keep in mind this is a Dr. C. presentation, not a Follica presentation. No mention of market, current methodologies, etc. etc. and of course no human trial data. The conclusion is that this is all well and good but Follica are the ones to answer whether these things translate to human. I know that in some cases Dr. C. and his lab looked at balding scalp and reverse engineered a mouse with e.g., a protein that’s lost in balding men. That’s a fine start but until the protein is blocked/amped up, depending on the pathway, in human subjects hard to draw conclusions. For example, Dkk1 is a “monkey wrench” in the system, but could be one of multiple factors involved.

      I just don’t know, hopefully they have some results investors in this climate would not just watch a ship sink slowly and lose boatloads of $$. 5-6 bad board meetings in a row and no results would kill a venture like Follica. It could be that they are simply accumulating data or if their investors are super merciful, allowing Follica to concentrate efforts on one of their other areas. the latterr would seem doubtful if their flagship tech is for hair regrowth.

      • McJ says:

        Hey disappointed, glad to see you chime in. The interview in question and the context surrounding it has a lot of holes to my mind. Basically a hair loss forum/forums funded a guy to go out to a hair congress meeting in S.Korea – the same guy who filmed the linked video – and got him to document the congress and conduct some interviews. One of those was with Cotsarelis.

        Now the Cots interview did not happen smoothly according to his account with Cots being slightly cagey about such a interview. In the end he got it and here’s the gist of it.

        Now the holes to my mind are, if you have a treatment that is better than minox or Fin, surely you would release it if all you needed was as little as 2 million? A drop in the ocean in VC terms, no? The other thing that niggles is that later on, this Desmond guy says words to the effect that other researchers are keeping stuff to themselves and not letting on how far ahead they are. Now, surely it’s conceivable that Cots, who was initially reluctant to give an interview, would just give this guy bogus info to get rid of him or fend him off?

        I dunno what to make of it to be honest. I guess I always thought that given the money already put into Follica and the news last year that (they claimed anyway) they had successfully grown new hair in humans for the first time that they were perhaps the ones to crack this thing. Be interested to hear what you make of all that anyway and the figures involved.

        • McJ says:

          Also just to add, in the link to that forum I provided, the guy said that Cots told him phase 2 was ‘completed recently with promising results’. According to clinical trials register, that trial finished in 2011 – which I wouldn’t regard as ‘recent’.

          • dissapointed says:

            Thanks, that is interesting…but also hard to interpret (unlike the Powerpoint presentation) since the “interviewer” isn’t a scientist and is jotting down some things and asking some questions, but without a trained background it’s tough to ask the right questions (or important follow up questions).

            Out of that list I’d say the discussion on #1 and #3 might be worth looking at more. The rest is garbage or conjecture not worth going at (Dr. C. famously put his foot in it with the Matt Lauer interview in 2008, right?).

            Again, the interviewer – this aint his thing, no matter how self-educated he is. I wouldn’t developed the details on #1 vs every getting to fgf9, etc. What did it cost Follica for Phase 2? It’s not uncommon for that cost to # in the 10’s of millions, so was it a real phase 2 and what was the max efficacy? It’s kind of odd to state “we are doing well but don’t have funds to continue.” So many eager scientists are getting rejected left and right because they haven’t made it to Phase 2. These guys are sitting there, and have Puretech on their side. So yes, you’re right it is a drop in the bucket. But then the statements make no sense because I think (let’s make it clear, this all my opinion), Dr. C. again, unfortunately, is blurring the lines between

            Part of the problem, and I don’t want to give the interviewer a hard time, is lack of staying on track with spontaneous follow up vs walking in with a set of prewritten questions. Questions like #1 were asked but not with immediate follow ups such as “results similar to propecia — in what time frame and lasting for years?”

            My response is getting long here. I stepped away and came back to this in case to think it over some more. Basically, we’ll probably have an answer in a year or two because Follica will have to fire most of its small group at a steady burn rate – 11million series A for six years? Of course everyone at the company will have a lower tier salary than someone on the first day at Merck, but 11 million plus a small Phase one+two trial… By this time next year they’ll have to have results of close shop. Very difficult to speculate without speaking to one of the scientists, are they going backwards and doing fundamental R&D to boost what they have in Phase two? You don’t carry out “on the job” R&D on patients in Phase three, that’s why some of the “answers” the guy in that link posted are a bit odd. Or possibly the company has tightened their belts and more in afundraising mode while a small bit of R&D takes place and Puretech drums up support for a phase 3 that is “as good as propecia.”

          • McJ says:

            Thanks, once again, for those insights. I know that this is all your own opinion but you’re one of the more straight forward/realistic contributors here plus you have experience in the field of biotech and generally know what you’re talking about.

            I’ve accrued a decent amount of knowledge in the past six years but it’s a drop in the ocean. I know virtually nothing and neither do most of these arm chair scientists. It’s good to actually hear some balanced opinions instead of wild conjecture or baseless accusations.

            It sounds cliched but you’ve hit the nail on the head (yet again!) – it’s a waiting game with Follica. Waiting to see if they’ve failed or (fingers crossed) succeeded. I had my doubts about the reliability of that quote unquote interview and they’ve only grown since I’ve read it. A couple of things stand out for me in the positive – the Fgf9 thing a little over a year ago today and the fact that they do have a new CEO in Neal Walker (though they’ve yet to announce that officially but he seems to have good pedigree in the field). Those things would at least indicate they have something left in the tank.

            Just one last thing, I think one of your points got cut off there;

            ‘Dr. C. again, unfortunately, is blurring the lines between’

            I think I can guess what you were going to say but would you mind finishing that thought? I’d assume it would be unproductive to give out such info to a random guy who cajoles you into an interview.

          • dissapointed says:

            Yes, sorry, I walked away when writing that post. Post was way longer than I intended but this area has seriously curious people like yourself and others who want to vote thumbs up or down like its a movie. It’s both science and business and not an easy area to get into.

            What I was suggesting is that Dr. C. often blurs what he thinks is possible vs the reality of the biotech world. Dr. C. is not a serial entrepreneur, and I don’t care how many advisory boards he sits on. The make a real product is a heck of a lot different than showing your best result, on your best day, in ~1-2 square centimeters on the back of another species such as mouse.

            Having said all that, Follica may be in trouble. Though companies with real VC backing generally don’t dry up the remaining 2-3 million (if they have that much in the bank or available from their VCs for a draw down). VCs aren’t a mom and pop store and need to cut the cord. The exception (sometimes) is when the entire infrastructure of the company is set up so that a few hundred thousand $ of more testing to see a “hit” is at a lower threshold now than shutting it all down and 6 months from now a scientist saying “wait, I know how we can test X.” So the sick feeling in my stomach is that the board, which has some genuine scientists in it, are going for the Hail Mary pass at a few more preclinical tests. After all, the pipeline – cells–>tissue–>mouse–>patient is set up.

            Follica aside, at the end of the day, I would focus on what people know are the proteins involved in hair loss and new technologies. Though nobody wants to hear that, I wouldn’t stress over this company. They are certainly an example of scientists and business people not knowing how to properly deal with the press (and subsequently potential patients).

          • McJ says:

            Haha, sorry – I may have upvoted you in the past but generally I tend to ignore those up/down things. Yeah, I appreciate it’s not an easy thing to explain to a lay person – though you do a good job – but I’m largely sanguine about the whole thing nowadays. I can’t do anything about it personally anyway but I’ll keep tabs on Follica and nothing more. I’ve been done for a while trying to find out whatever scabs of info I could find.

            Whenever I found out (got tipped of by a fellow curious person!) about the Cots ‘interview’, I was dubious and I still am frankly. Until they’re out of game officially, I won’t rule them out and I’ll say it again, I reckon you’re spot on about how in a year or two, we’ll find out what the score is. I think the Neal Walker hire is big positive;


            Anyway, as always, super informative. Thanks and as ever, I’ll check in periodically here and hopefully pick your brain again soon when Follica announce…something… I hope! Take it easy.

  104. Bruck says:

    Hello all. I have followed Dr. Cotsarelis and his research, and have the utmost respect for him. I am in the medical profession, and actually understand much of his detailed lectures and writings. I find him to be very honest and intelligent and dedicated to finding a good treatment (topical medications) for hair loss. His work (and his collegues, including Dr. Luis Garza) are some of the best and most advanced I have read so far.
    And I am just as frustrated as most people that the progress has been slow, that many large drug companies are not yet interested in this huge potential blockbuster (25 million men, 20 million women potential patients by one study), and that the Phase 1, 2, and 3 studies are so expensive (2-3 million dollars each). I do believe that if anyone can get funding for hair research and potential drugs to market, it is Dr. Cotsarelis.
    From all us us, please hurry up…..!

  105. Bruck says:

    Also, thank you Desmond for all your good work and dedication in bringing back a lot of good information for all of us.

  106. McJ says:

    Not Follica related at all sadly but further contributions to understanding this problem;

    Mice yet again but ya gotta start somewhere. This would also appear to be a Chinese study.

    • dissapointed says:

      Thanks for posting. Actually, very interesting. This is basically akin to what Histogen has been claiming to do. The difference is that Histrogen would grow specific cells in conditions of low oxygen in order to induce a more foetal-like state to enrich for “factors” (some of which they clearly state, I believe).
      The difference here is that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are in use. Nothing special with those cells (I’ve grown them a fair amount in the past). They grow for a limited lifespan, but in this case the MSCs are retrofitted with production of a specific Wnt. So the “Wnt-CM” the authors refer to essentially means growing the cells to a specific density in a plate and then not giving the cells fresh media but waiting a day or two for the cells to build up a ton of product in the media. The conditioned media (CM) can then be filtered to remove and dead cells, particulate matter, and used directly in patients.
      So bit of different style and specific Wnt than Histogen, but straightforward to scale up and ready for Phase I clinical trial as is.

      Personally, I think that until someone comes up with serious efforts in e.g., lower primate models, the current system will really be hit or miss. Propecia and minoxidal work in monkey models of “male pattern balding” but with mouse models straight to human it seems there can be quite a leap. The exception were the microarray results out of Dr. C’s lab but for whatever reason they are trying to troll big pharm to do the work vs just doing it themselves via collaboration with primate facilities or with better human skin culture models.

      Funny you mention its a Chinese study. Labs over there can produce crap but this study seems reasonable with no outlandish claims. Kind of surprised it got into Nature but the wow factor is that they are using conditioned media from MSCs – adult stem cells that are generally deemed safe – to produce a liquid product. Histogen does the same thing but with specific, rarer cell lines and more involved culture conditions, and with naturally produced proteins. On the other hand, the media collected from the MSCs could be modified to produce as many proteins as necessary, at different rations (e.g. Wnt1-highlevels, fgf9-low levels) and then injected into patients scalps.

      Definitely a pick-me-up for Independence Day. Have a good 4th.

      • McJ says:

        Wow, that is interesting, especially the potential for the MSCs to be modified to produce as many proteins as necessary. Yeah the Chinese part raised eyebrows for me as most studies in this area that I’ve seen tend to come from Europe or the US but if it made it into Nature, it must be someway credible.

        You mentioned the better human skin culture models, I remember seeing this earlier this year;

        Shouldn’t something like this eliminate animal testing altogether or is it a cost thing?

        • dissapointed says:

          Thanks and yes and no on the skin model. You have to keep in mind that whether its academic or a new company, those researchers are putting their best foot forward on a general platform for which a test drive by others has not taken place. The tech is so early that we don’t know if it will a good model. So it’d be like doing research, to do research. Any new tech will have risk so a more straightforward approach to getting a product must be done.

          You’re right, the Nature paper does give it more credibility and the STAP cell fiasco (really sad) reminds us that even top journals get duped now and then.

          The neat thing with the MSC study is that its believable, its within range/comprehension to most biologists. Though a hair loss vaccine would be great, its these simpler “why didn’t I think of that?!” studies that we tend to celebrate in translational science. Many in the lab (myself included) have generated transgenic MSCs, that’s no big deal. But utilizing modified cells as a neat “trick” to bypass special cell conditions and it makes a big impact. Especially when the Wnt protein had a substantial impact in mice (maybe not a homerun, at least a double or a triple). It says that physiological levels of protein for skin surface therapy can be obtained from cells in a dish. SOme questions are – which proteins, how much and how often?

          I do have a bias because I work in a different area, but an area that unfortunately involves a lot more technological effort for therapy. This approach would realistically be the first method offered up that is would allow for more competition because of lowered technical threshold and cost. Question is, who will get into the game? If I were at Follica, with a system in place, I’d bit the bullet and collaborate these guys ASAP to get in on the ground level of the IP. Might fail but if the Follica therapy is “as good as Propecia” and needs to do tests, this use of conditioned media is far more straightforward than laborious GMP preparation of a single protein.

          Or maybe Histogen could collaborate. Either way, I think its going to open the door for the smaller “home kitchen” companies to enter the race. I should stop there, post is gtting very long.

          • McJ says:

            No, not at all, it’s all fascinating stuff… the longer the better! No, the skin tech is interesting (and a bit frustrating) as, if I’m following you correctly, it’s so new that tests need to be done on it first to see how good it’ll will be as a means of testing. One for the future then.

            Really fascinating about how this recent discovery could open things up – maybe even in regard to Follica. This Neal Walker guy, given his background, may be useful in this regard.

            Even if Follica don’t move on this (or maybe they don’t even need to if they do have something up their sleeve) and, if like you say, it opened the door to smaller companies, that would be fantastic potentially.

      • McJ says:

        Hope you had a good 4th too btw!

  107. McJ says:

    Erm, Follica have a new look website…is that news? I dunno.

    Very shiny looking. I like. Like a treatment more but hey, it looks good!

    • julian says:

      I think it is good news..

      • McA says:

        I’ve heard that before somewhere ;) Stay skeptical!

      • McJ says:

        Here’s the funny thing, they’ve updated their news section portion of the website and they’ve put in the Cots presentation video from that hair conference thing – ya know the one where the guy went to S.Korea funded by those forums and filmed it and got his ‘interview’ with Cots.

        So, they’ve obviously been paying attention (I still think that ‘interview’ was deliberate misinformation) but the curious thing is that they link the video that focuses on PGD2 rather than the one where he talks about FGF9 and actually name-checks Follica. So yeah, I don’t really know if you can read anything into that or not or the whole new web design thing. Worth keeping an eye on though.

        • julian says:

          They are really stressing the creation of new follicles rather than trying to regenerate the existing ones. It is a hint maybe that they have not give up the development of this treatment and still believe it can provide a solution. All is not dead, it seems.

    • Vikki says:

      Although I wouldn’t read *too* much into the new site, I think it’s good news.
      One quote from the new site : “Follica has an exclusive, worldwide license from the University of Pennsylvania to develop and commercialize a breakthrough technology ***that has been demonstrated to stimulate the genesis and development of new follicles in humans.***”
      (The asterisks are mine).
      Good news :)

      • McJ says:

        Mmm… we did know that before though to be fair with this Xconomy article. I think it’s a watch this space scenario – although it’s been that type of scenario for a while now – but certain things language wise may point to something positive.

        They do mention in their opening page about ‘Follica’s treatment’ which would indicate that they have something. Which I don’t think has been in doubt, it’s just how effective said treatment is.

        I’m definitely on the fence about it, I think it’s the best place to be. ‘disappointed’ may be able to chime in but I think the best we could maybe hope for now is an announcement about funding possibly, maybe an announcement about Neal Walker joining the company? Who knows but the new web design is much better than the last one.

        • disappointed says:

          Honestly would make very little of the website. I only would have thought something more of the update if there was the specific naming of a product. The company would not have to give away any trade secret, but naming a product and giving a time line on development. This makes me concerned on whether they are in the research phase, still, and not focusing on developing an actual product. The danger is setting the bar so high that no product moves forward and funding dries up (what funding do they have/are they getting?).

          • McJ says:

            Thanks for that, yeah, I’m unsure what to make of the timing. Why change it and why now? Technically there’s nothing new there language wise… it still mostly says the same stuff.

            It’s a slicker design no doubt but the only real thing of note is the inclusion of the S.Korean Hair Congress video featuring Cotsarelis. Not curiously the FGF9 video where he namechecks Follica but the one on PDG2.

            I almost thought of its inclusion as a tacit acknowledgement that Follica or the people at Follica have some degree of awareness of what goes on on the interwebs – certainly some of the talk about that Cots ‘interview’ that put Follica’s efforts in a more sobering light. I still think that interview was a misdirect of some sorts. It didn’t really add up for me.

            Perhaps I’m totally wrong in thinking that but I thought the inclusion of that video was interesting. Cotsarelis certainly features more prominently on the new website or his quote about hairloss certainly does.

            Yeah I’d worry about the high bar too but if they did have something that was only marginally better than what’s currently available, that would likely be huge financially. It’s still up in the air I guess. Maybe the new website is meant to attract new investors possibly?

          • julian says:

            I think the new website doesn’t say much but says something.. I would even risk to say that the image of the guy with open arms kind of thanking to the sky or Gods would be meaningful.. like he’s thanking for a miracle, the miracle that regaining hair would be in reality. Is it a hint that Follica has this miracle or is almost there or are optimistic that they may be close to or are just daydreaming about it like all of us? That answer only they know… and we can only wait and hope as always.

          • disappointed says:

            I think what I posted earlier was not written clearly enough. What I was getting at is that any biotech company with a real product in clinicals will often (not always, but often) have an indication for potential investors on drug timelines. In this case you could call it “wound induced hair regrowth” but there has to be a NAME of some type that Foll. Bio refers to in clinical trials. There is no such description with a progress bar. No offense to Foll. Bio but if they are going to meetings and not discussing the “progress bar”, it could very well mean they are focusing on research and not development. If the current results are 10% induction of hair growth and it would make most patients go from bald–>scraggly bald, doesn’t make sense to spend tens of millions to get to the end of Phase 2. But as I’ve posted at other times, the company has an assembly line in place, and even if the conveyer belt isn;t moving on now, it can be kicked on with a flip of a switch.

            The mouse to human translation of results is where a lot of biotechs die. Researchers get “some result” in mouse, and assume they will get the same result in human. And the further assumption is “with careful effort we’ll even get better.” When the results don’t pan out, what then – do you crush the lab or give them a few more shots? Another way to look at it is — do you stick to the cookie recipe that semi-sucks and try to build the next “Mrs. Fields cookies” on that and commit to 50,000 tons of ingredients? Or, do you try another recipe while you’re still at the mom and pop bakery level and have the ability to back off recipe #1 and try experimental recipe #2, #3, etc. while have all the equipment and no major commitment yet?

            I’ve seen this stuff in biotech all the time. Notice nobody here talks of the other applications of Follica Bio. Acne, etc. Likely because investors DO see the $ making potential if Follica wins out. There are so many things to considerso I better end it there. I don’t want to give false hope but my guess is that, for better or for worse, we will have to see drastic changes in biotech in the next 10-15 years.

          • McJ says:

            I see, ok… I like the mom and pop Bakery analogy…excellent! That should certainly clear up any confusion. I have to say in my head, ‘oh, new website, must mean something’ but yeah, not really the case.

            I do hope the likes of Langer and co point out, as you’ve mentioned before, the advantages of hanging in there. Certainly, financially, if they do indeed crack it, the rewards are huge. Billions huge. I posted some stuff up top – more recent findings and some from UPENN and Cots and co. Interesting reading with the Cots one as there are further findings on WNTs.

          • julian says:

            Timelines would be great but not naming a product doesn’t mean they don’t have it yet. The product may be called Follica too. I think it won’t be a product but a treatment so there is no need to name it, just the company. Follica is a good name already. A lot of people anticipate so why have another?

    • curious says:

      lol… their “new website” is a tumblr template… not sure if that is good news or bad news. Basically someone’s 14 year old nephew is now able to add information to the website, no coding necessary. Step back maybe?

  108. Bruck says:

    What is frustrating is that the larger drug companies are not involved in the hair loss therapy research or clinical studies. With a potential market of 25 million customers (patients) just in the USA, and with Drs. Cotsarelis and Garza well along the research path, there should be medical trials further along. I know trials take money, but the potential benefits are huge. Any comments….?

    • McJ says:

      I think that’s a much larger question than a few lines could answer but from what I’ve picked up over the years is that it’s risk vs reward for a large drug company and the risk is too great. A lot of these things don’t get past phase II and the loss of money would be too great. Could be that Follica will eventually sell up to a larger drug company – who knows?

      Also I image the market for potential customers in the US is much larger than 25 million. I think the figures are something like only 10% of people with hair loss do something about it and that’s worth 5-10 billion or something… Imagine if there was something truly effective on offer and how that percentage would increase.

      Bottom line, there’s a huge financial reward for whoever comes up with a viable solution as the current treatments suck and suck badly. So where there is vast amounts money to be made, there’s always going to be someone there to cash in on it. I’m not one the naysayers who will say ‘not in my lifetime’ as we’re getting closer everyday but I think it’s still a ways off. I think Follica are worth keeping an eye on short term but it’s very up in the air with them at the minute. As ‘disappointed’ mentioned, they could be still be researching and with no new money coming in, that’s not good.

  109. Bruck says:

    Could Ben Fidler (Xconomy)do a follow-up article on Follica and / or other firms (Histogen, Replicel) ,and how their progress is going?

    • McJ says:

      You could try twitter to ask Ben directly but Xconomy have featured histogen (wouldn’t be too confident with those folks tbh) only the once I think and I don’t think they’ve ever featured Replicel.

      Likely scenario is that Ben Fidler or anyone for that matter won’t have anything to update us with as Follica don’t say anything until they want to. No harm in asking but it’s likely to go nowhere.

  110. McJ says:

    The Chinese are at it again;

    Although this is in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh. This would appear to be another significant study to come from China since this most recent nature article;

    What do you think of the latest Exogenous connective tissue growth factor finding ‘disappointed’?

    • McJ says:

      Also this;

      Cots, Millar, Ito and Gay involved in this one. Wnt related.

      • disappointed says:

        I replied to this but the post was erased.

        I would make almost nothing of that paper. It is very basic research and low impact and potentially only slightly of interest to a particular niche field, within a niche field. Specifically, might slightly change how companies (if there are any) culture DP cells. The Holy Grail would be if they had something that caused DP cells to retain their basic differentiation potential even after months or years of culture (or e.g. 150 passages in culture, whichever came first). This type of thing peaked, and still continue to a lesser degree, with human embryonic stem cells.

        • McJ says:

          Thanks – the only bits of info I’ve picked up about the DP stuff and culturing them is that the biggest problem is retaining gene expression or something like that. I never was really able to get as excited about that method as I was say about Follica’s method as it always seemed quite a ways off. The nice thing about Follica’s method is the shorter time span for it to potentially reach the market. That and the somewhat simple elegance of it all. Well, maybe perhaps not so simple!

          • disappointed says:

            Too much speculation. Until data is shown I wouldn’t bet on anything. No idea what they are really up to. Or employee number. Or unspent capital. If it weren’t for my own work I’d like to get into this area.

          • McJ says:

            Well. that’s true but some of this has come from the company themselves about shorter time frames etc but yeah, it’s the old Hollywood saying, ‘nobody knows anything’. And despite the claim that they’ve created new hairs, they haven’t released any pics or data. I said it before but until the next press release, assuming there is one, it’s all up in the air I suppose.

            I see Puretech are hiring for some positions if that’s of any interest to you.

          • disappointed says:

            Ha, funny, I don’t think I’ve seen VC groups posting jobs for their start up. That’s a first (or at leastI’ve never seen that before). Interesting area that clearly has Langer’s stamp/influence all over it. But I actually have my own projects in a different area.
            I’d consult for free for Follica if it gave me access to their data ( I admit I’m curious) but otherwise have too much I want to get done in my own area.

          • McJ says:

            I’d second that motion! Hey Follica folks, we know you read this, let ‘disappointed’ do some consulting work! And pro bono no less!

            Yeah, I think – though I don’t know that much about VC and Biotech generally speaking – that Puretech have an interesting approach to various health problems. Obviously some of those problems are more serious than others but gathering the best people in their respective fields is ambitious and to be lauded.

            I don’t think they’ve had any ‘hits’ yet per say but they’ve certainly made positive noises about Gelesis and Follica. Most folks want to be skinner with more hair. They appear to know this.

          • McJ says:

            Just as a matter of interest, what are your thoughts on the replicel folks? I’ve never really given them the time of day but they appeared to have decent news earlier this year especially with changes to Japan’s stem cell laws;



    • julian says:

      thats for your grand grandchildren my friend… I wanna something much better much faster…

  111. depressed says:

    growing hair should be as simple as getting rid of it by now. It amazes me how we’ve advanced so much in many fields but in medical science we are so slow.

  112. Vikki says:

    Interesting stuff! Might have not so much impact for MPB sufferers, but very interesting nonetheless.

  113. McJ says:

    So, this might prove interesting in the future.

    It may not seem like it but things are moving forward

    • julian says:

      yeahh, a slug is moving forward also.

      • McJ says:

        But a slug has noth…Oh, I see what you’re doing. Hey, look, it is what it is. Yesterday was the first time I’ve visited here in a while and nothing has really changed from a ‘will there be a new treatment soon perspective’ since last year really with the Follica fgf9 news. But there have been lots of little things in between that point to at least a brighter future for folks looking for more hair.

        Aint gonna happen overnight sadly.

        • julian says:

          its not overnight.. these guys have been talking about a cure since a lot of time. Follica in the beginning was all optimism and all they got after all this time concealing nobody knows what it is is a new website. REBOOTING YOUR SCALP… but this ING never turns into something real. There is a HUGE market if there was a breakthrough, something big, no doubt… if there was really something that could reboot our scalps, not just talk but an effective treatment, solution, whatever… these guys really don’t know what they’re missing. It’s just about 10 percent of sufferers doing something about it. 90 percent don’t consume anything and they’re right cause there’s not anything worthy to be consumed. If there was they’d do. Imagine the size of this market!!!

  114. julian says:

    waiting for solution to this problem is like waiting for the Messiah to come back.

    • McJ says:

      Send a tweet to Ben if you want an update (you likely won’t get any reply other than to say ‘all quiet on the western front’ but maybe it’s worth a shot)

      Other than that, reread the article and take solace in the fact that they are probably at this point in time at that next step, trying a ‘specific device configuration with a specific, well-known and studied drug (meaning it wouldn’t have to be as extensively tested as a new chemical) in a group of human patients.’

  115. McJ says:

    Worth a look for those who are interested… Epigenetics, skin, hair and wound healing;

    There’s always another angle if something else fails although you can’t help but think there is something to all this wound-healing stuff… how long it takes, well, that’s another story….

  116. McJ says:

    Puretech just recently got a bunch of funding;

    Could be good news for Follica. We’ll see.

    • julian says:

      don’t know. They don’t mention Follica there. We have to wait to see if it will grab a portion of this money.. But, apparently not.

    • bob says:

      well, wasn’t Cotsarelis that said they needed 20 million to a cure or 2 million to present something a little better than propecia and minoxidil??? They grabbed 50 million now. Nothing for Follica??? zero??? If so, they’re pretty much dead already.

    • julian says:

      Short Interview between Desmond and Dr. Cotsarelis:

      1) Follica’s phase 2 trial completed recently with promising results. But they have insufficient funds to continue with further trials. So at this point everything has been put on hold.

      2) When I asked him if the rumours were true that the company that conducted the trials on behalf of Follica was found to falsify data and is being sued. He laughed and denied any such matters. So the data they collected is definitely valid I suppose.

      3) I brought up the crowdfunding idea particularly with regards to Follica and he said the amount necessary is quite large. So I insisted on an actual amount and here’s what he said: “US $2 million would bring out a product that would be more effective than Minoxidil and Propecia but would not give a bald person a full head of hair. US $20 million will provide the kind of funding necessary to give someone who is already bald a full head of hair but it will take more years to accomplish”.

      4) Also he did say that a full blown cure using Follica’s method for an already bald person is still many years away.

      5) Regarding the PGD2 approach and the current blockers that are in trials, i mentioned how they are failing to show much benefit in Asthma and trials are being stopped one at a time he seemed very optimistic and believed that is a great thing for hair because companies in general try to keep the number of trials to the minimum. The more trials you do the greater the chances for an adverse effect to be found. He believes that is the best thing that could have happened and may finally give these companies enough willpower to start a trial in hair regeneration.

      6) And finally I brought up fgf9 and its potentials. He believes fgf9 is still a very new discovery with many years of preclinical research ahead of it, when I asked for an estimated date he said at least 10 years. He then went on to mention that just to go from Rogaine liquid to Rogaine foam it took the company over 8 years of studies and data collection before they were allowed to sell it and Minoxidil has been on the market for many years. Now imagine if we are trying to bring out a completely new agent. The timeframes are quite long indeed.

  117. McJ says:

    I think a little context is necessary here with regards to the most recent posts. That ‘interview’ between Cotsarelis and the person who calls himself Desmond was done off the record. Now even this Desmond guy said in his reporting from the event that many people weren’t showing their full hand with regards to their progress. Now why would Cotsarelis do exactly that? It makes no sense. Even off the record, it makes no sense. If you were potentially on the cusp of a multi-billion dollar discovery, why would you give even the slightest hint of your breakthrough when competitors are waiting around the corner to pounce?

    Now Follica could be years off still but here’s what we know. Wound healing and hair growth – and you can find the posts on this board – has been shown to be connected very strongly. That’s the main thrust of Follica’s device + drug combo. Bernat Olle even says in the article above that they’ve had to manage the Follica news very carefully due to the ‘huge responses’ so it’s no surprise you won’t find Follica mentioned here;

    It’s an article well worth reading if only to see how Puretech operates. So the only thing we can do is wait and see what happens next. I think we should take positives from the fact that Follica has people like Robert Langer and Neal Walker in it’s corner and also the tech. There’s does appear to be quite a lot to support what Follica have done and hopefully are doing.

    • julian says:

      Follica is not mentioned, very odd and worrying… I don’t think it’s because of the huge responses it could provoke.

  118. McJ says:

    Yet more news;

    It’s far off most likely but still progress.

    • julian says:

      McJ, nobody gets excited about something that is years away. All of us need some progress now, cause time waits for no one… you know… All we need is some sort of new treatment that could do better than what is available now, something that could really cosmetically improve our hairs looks, and luck. Our best hope is that Follica already have that something, or that the germans or a company like Replicel could finally prove to be able to replicate hair follicles, which would be a solution no matter how costly. People would pay, for sure. They are already paying lots of money for pseudo solutions that barely change their appearance, imagine if there could be a real, big improvement. That would only be possible if a great quantity of hair follicles could be implanted, and the surgery would be much simpler and wouldn’t mutilate peoples head. Hair cloning plus improvements in the technology of hair transplants would translate into a real cure for baldness sufferers and hair doctors could continue make their money but with better results. If hairs could be injected it would be great but even if they had to be implanted surgically as long as there was a supply that wouldn’t be limited that would be a cure. Other than that if Follica could create new hair follicles that worked fine and maybe turn weak hairs into strong and heathy ones, it could also do wonders for many guys and girls that are not bald but have thin hair or are getting bald but in the middle of the process. So, what we’ve got and may hope for in the near time is that, Follica and hair cloning companies like Replicel, Intercitex and maybe some others.

  119. julian says:

    Again remembering Desmonds interview with Cots… and assuming that he did tell his mind… well… according to him 1) Follica’s phase 2 trial completed recently with promising results. But they have insufficient funds to continue with further trials. So at this point everything has been put on hold.

    2) When I asked him if the rumours were true that the company that conducted the trials on behalf of Follica was found to falsify data and is being sued. He laughed and denied any such matters. So the data they collected is definitely valid I suppose.

    3) I brought up the crowdfunding idea particularly with regards to Follica and he said the amount necessary is quite large. So I insisted on an actual amount and here’s what he said: “US $2 million would bring out a product that would be more effective than Minoxidil and Propecia but would not give a bald person a full head of hair. US $20 million will provide the kind of funding necessary to give someone who is already bald a full head of hair but it will take more years to accomplish”.

    so, it it is true and we can believe it, we know that they now have funds since PURETECH grabbed 50 million dollars recently… So 2 million for launching a product which shows promise and, despite it can’t give a bald person a full head of hair, maybe it can give a balding, thinned hair person a full head of hair, stronger and denser hair and that would be amazing per se, as we know Propecia and Minoxidil can’t do that!! So for 2 million that would be nothing.. If it gives better results than whats best that is available for sure it is worth. What are 2 million?

    But there is no mention to Follicas name in the plans of investment of this money. They didn’t mention Follica, which is quite strange and brings suspicion. Cots said they need more money. Now they have it, a lot. But it seems they won’t get it from their investors, not a dime. Strange isn’t it?? They have a promising product but can’t take 2 million out of 50 from their investors who could then start marketing it and reimburse that money and much more rapidly for sure. It doesn’t need to give a bald person a full head of hair to be successful. We know that the greatest trauma that baldness gives to someone is when the person is in the beginning to the middle of the process. Thats when its hardest to put up with this problem. So a medicine or treatment or whatever that reverses that condition, with improved cosmetical results than the current ones, that would surely be a success, would bring loads of money.

  120. vin diesel says:

    Apparently this will cure baldness… lol

    • julian says:

      And that is really all we’ve got… great job scientists!!

    • Vikki says:

      Ah, so everyone needs to just practice some…umm…self love? I kind of already do that most days, but maybe I need to step it up. Hope I don’t get chafed too much…

      (And also meditate. And eat many coconuts. Who knew?!?!)

      • julian says:

        there will always be this kind of bullshit until a real good treatment be available, no matter how costly… until then we will have to put up with guys like this and sadly many will believe it.

  121. desperate says:


    • McJ says:

      Perhaps the single most notable thing to happen recently was the puretech funding announcement (scroll down this page a bit, it’s linked) and Follica was noticeably absent in the list of puretech programmes mentioned. That’s either a good thing or it’s a bad thing. I’m erring on the side of optimism for a change. Put it this way, if you had a treatment, would you be screaming from the rafters about a nearby release or would you play the stealth card?

      But yeah, who knows when.

      • MZ says:

        I’m hopeful for a release sometime next year. Follica, Cotsarelis, Garza etc. frequently mentions latisse (bimatoprost) as a F2 analog that would be very helpful in addition to a PGD2/GPR44 inhibitor. As some of you may know, the company that is currently in trials for this drug is Allergan, and they were bought out for $66 billion, $13 billion more than any competitor was willing to offer. Now, their phase IIb studies were just completed and we will have the results of those studies in January.

        There are many rumors about the results of the trial, and they are very positive. Allergan’s stock is through the roof, and the rumors are that it’s super effective treatment that will take from minoxidil and propecia. If the results of the study are very good (as they have been indicated) then bimatoroprost will be released within a year.

        PGD2 inhibition alone will stop your hair loss, and maintain. With these two drugs together, you can pretty much reverse the progress of your hair loss or thinning if you are in the early to mid stages. It will probably be effective for women as well. Having both these drugs on the market at the same time will benefit the sales of both, because you have a lot of firepower to reverse you hair loss, and at dermatologist offices, they will be prescribed together.

        Follica has been in trials for a long time now, and they have mentioned the PGD2 theory many times. On top of it there are drugs currently on the market that target the GPR44 receptor. I refuse to believe that they aren’t extremely close and we will see something soon. There’s just no way it’s not around the corner.

        • Ryan says:

          Interesting post MZ, I hope you’re right. One thing I didn’t understand when that interview with Cots at the conference earlier in the year was done, when he referred to lack of money or something, was the lack of information about the other side of the Follica treatment that could be extremely lucrative, obviously I’m talking about turning a follicle’s ability to produce hair off for people who suffer from hirsutism, or simply for men and women who want to remove unwanted hair. In the early years of Follica that was part of their future treatments, yet we don’t know if they’ve made any progress with that side at all.

          • MZ says:

            Ah, yes. Cots stated that “$2 million would bring out a treatment better than minoxidil and propecia, $20 million would bring the type of funding needed to give a bald person a full head of hair, but will take more years to accomplish.” So you mean to tell me that it’ll take $2 million, and puretech ventures just received $55 million for their pipeline products, but no money to follica and billions of dollars of revenue every year from their PGD2 discovery? Nonsense. Something else is going on, and I’m on the side of optimism. Hopefully they are figuring out the logistics of a release, because if they have what we all think they have, they’ll need to ensure that they can fill a $10 billion a year market.

            No sexual sides, can be used by women and is simple as a topical. People won’t be reluctant to try it because its not an oral medication, and people trying to fight their hair loss won’t be taken by snake oil remedies. It’s the real thing, and it makes no sense for him to claim that PGD2 causes hair loss, be in trials for years, make all these claims like “it shouldn’t take too long” and release nothing. In every interview published by the media, it has all been very promising and positive. When a guy from a hair loss forum tries to get an interview, I think it’s likely that Cots had good reason to be cagey and not reveal anything. Cots and follica want to control how they release information, which is why they schedule interviews themselves, and don’t agree to do random, off-the-fly interviews.

      • desperate says:

        good or bad thing… or they don’t need or don’t deserve more money.

  122. McJ says:

    Don’t know what this means but it looks interesting;

    • julian says:

      its ends in 2018.. too far!

        • julian says:

          good.. but when it will translate into practice is what counts.. Trials and more trials that never get nowhere or that it will take years mean nothing… we need something right now and it’s time it should have been discovered.. something with this market potential be neglected like this.. really hard to understand…

          • MZ says:

            I understand completely where you’re coming from. It’s really hard to pin your hopes on something that seems the most hopeful, but has the least information about it. Almost feels like we’re being cruelly teased.

            I honestly have no idea what to expect from them, but what seems the most likely and logical is a PGD2 inhibitor in a topical formulation. It would be worth billions per year, and they’re not cashing in on it just yet. The longer they wait, the more money they stand to not make. It’s stupid, and it’s pissing me off.

  123. Bruck says:

    (12/14) Hello all. It
    has been seven months since Dr. Cotsarelis gave his presentation in at the 8th World Hair Congress in South Korea May
    2014. Looking back here are a few comments:

    1. I commend Desmond for taping Dr. Cotsarelis on his two lectures. He is still by far one of the most knowledgeable and honest scientists in the hair research business. We are very lucky he taped these lectures for the rest of the world to see. Hopefully we can proceed on a future product to market.

    2. It appears that the Wnt pathway is one of the big future scientific therapies, with hopefully a DKK1 inhibitor combination to enhance the benefit of hair restoration. This was also discussed in the Univ. of Penn. Research
    publication in Dec. 2013.

    3. These medication injections would probably need to be repeated, perhaps every 3 months, to product the ongoing benefit of hair follicle restoration.

    4. It is frustrating no new news has come out since Jan. 2014 from Univ. of Penn. or Follica since Jan. 2014. Not sure what is happening. They still seem to have the biggest potential for a good product to benefit the many millions of people.

    5. Must be noted that Univ. of Penn. and Follica have patents on the
    PGD2 and Fgf9 pathway therapies. These are potentially huge market therapies if a medication is produced and found to be safe and effective. No news of any human studies yet. It is hard to believe that they could not proceed yet with one.

    6. Japan is taking a lead in regenerative medicine. Histogen and Replicel are planning Phase 2 studies in early 2015. Thank you Japan for making it easier than the FDA to get a product to market.

  124. julian says:

    Mr. Ben Fidler shouldn’t be time to try to contact Follica again for some inquiries?

    • MZ says:

      Follica/Cotsarelis:”We’re not currently working on anything despite the possibility of making billions of dollars annually. Nope, nothing at all.”

      • julian says:

        That is what amazes me in fact.. how can only two or three companies be working on a kind of a cure for something like this, which is a condition that affects so many people, almost everybody in the world if you take a good look, has some degree of loss of hair… it’s a minority that can maintain all or most of their hairs throughout life.. So, its guaranteed that once there is a kind of a cure or revolutionary treatment, something really good, everyone will seek this treatment. So, laboratories, the pharma companies should be seeking and investing on a cure more than in anything else. There’s even a saying that says that HAIR IS EVERYTHING!! Sansan in the Bible loses all his strength and power when he loses his long hairs. Be this story true or not, it’s curious that the power was attributed and directly linked to the HAIR. I really think that isn’t just coincidence. That is because HAIR really affects our self image, self esteem and confidence, and therefore, our inner force, our sensation of being powerful, attractive and so on. Well, maybe HAIR IS EVERYTHING IN FACT… And Follica seems to be close but we don’t know how close. I just think that after almost two decades after PROPECIA and 3 decades after ROGAINE.. there was nothing until now.. improvements in HAIR TRANSPLANTS I don’t count cause that’s mandatory in any field. A ROBOT that perfects this technique doesn’t impress me. There are robots for everything and this is just one more. The main problem continues the same with or without a robot or improvements, they can’t create new hair follicles, LIMITATION of the donor area!! Well, Follica has claimed they have created new… a substantial amount of??.. hair follicles.. So, what are these guys waiting for????????????????

        • MZ says:

          Follica may be a bit of a mystery at this point, but I can guarantee that there will be a topical as effective or even more so than finasteride within 2 years. CB-03-01, SM04554, DA-4001 are all topical applications that are currently in phase 2 trials. If Follica doesn’t release something, then they run the risk of these drugs coming out, working, and having popularity along with brand loyalty. It would be stupid for them to wait much longer at this point. So, I’d try not to get too worked up. Something better is coming soon.

          Bimatoprost is also looking like a super-rogaine type product in their new trials, but we’ll have to wait for those results in January. Things are definitely looking up. Hang in there.

          • julian says:

            Where you got that information about bimatoprost trials? I hope so, it is more than late to have a better thing than minoxidil and finasteride.. Follica is the big bet but their eternal silence sucks.

          • MZ says:

            It won’t be “better” than finasteride. If anything it’ll be used with a preventative treatment like finasteride, or if your hair loss is not that severe, it can be used alone. It’s possible that it would be enough in some cases.

            I’ve been getting my information from a few different places. While I’m not certain on their results, I do know for sure that when Allergan was bought out, they had just finished their phase 2b trial. The company was purchased for 13 billion more than any other company was willing to offer, so obviously, the company which bought them out believes in their potential.

            It’s most likely going to be a super-rogaine type product that can be used anywhere on the scalp, and not just the vertex.

          • julian says:

            until it comes out all of this is just a guess though I hope you’re right. I just believe it has to be at least a bit better than what exists nowadays or it doesn’t make sense.

          • MZ says:

            I’d call it an “educated guess.” If all Cots’ work on prostaglandins and how they regulate hair growth is true, then bimatoprost will be very effective at regrowing and strengthening hair as a PGF2 analog. A PGD2 inhibitor will theoretically stop you from losing your hair. It’s all very exciting, but there is little information out there.

  125. MZ says:

    Just came across a published article about PGD2 entitled: “Prostaglandin D2 Inhibits wound-induced hair follicle neogenesis through the receptor, gpr44.”

    So, what it seems to me is that in order to make follicular neogenesis possible, one of the topical compounds would need to inhibit PGD2 in a balding scalp. So that means that they have already or are trialing a pgd2 inhibitor through their trials to create follicular neogenesis. This would make a lot of sense because it would save them a lot of time, and money on further trials for this compound. It’s already being trialed for safety and efficacy through the one for follicular neogenesis.This is actually very, very good news if it is the case (which I’m almost certain it is).

  126. McJ says:

    disappointed, not sure if you visit these parts anymore but what do you make of this;

    Cots and some other Follica associated names are attached to this but then again it is U-Penn.

  127. Bruck says:

    Happy Holidays to you all. I just read the new publication that McJ gave to us from the Univ. of Penn. The principal author is George Xu is the same scientist that published the article last Jan. 2014 on fibroblast and epithelial stem cells used for hair regeneration. But in this new article they are discussing only fibroblasts and melanocytes, but nothing on hair. And no human studies to speak of. Are they showing less interest now on hair medical treatments?

    • McJ says:

      I think that’s a little misleading to assume that they are showing less interest in hair treatments. These guys, especially Cots, have other areas of interest. Just look at Cots bio on the upenn page. I only ask disappointed for an opinion, firstly because he’s someone who works in the field and has always given honest, non-hyperbolic opinions and secondly because the end of article mentioned this discovery could influence other cell based treatments and I was just looking for an informed opinion on the matter.

      I think people who come here looking for something on the horizon should be positive about the numerous articles on wounding and hair regeneration that have come out since 2007 but also the fact that puretech just got a huge injection of money with potentially more to come. Now, that doesn’t mean Follica are sure to get some of that money but I’d certainly try to be optimistic for their prospects and hopefully some further news in 2015. Plus they have the best people on their team too. I’m looking on the bright side for 2015…for a change.

      • desperate says:

        I don’t know McJ.. This Follica and Cotsarelis and all this fucking silence never saying anything and coming every 2 years to say the same thing: we’re progressing, we’re excited… when???????? can’t wait that much more. A new website was all they’ve presented after 6 years of supposed trials. Puretech reportedly gave ZERO money to them from their plus 50 million grabbed recently. I REALLY DONT KNOW WHAT TO THINK OR EXPECT FROM THIS COMPANY. Well… 2015 may bring some good news from Allergans bimatoprost but I don’t get much excitement. It seems all is too far from us. A decade or decades in the future.. We need hair while we’re young or relatively young. Some of us need more than others, some don’t even need it I guess. But some need it desperately and I am one of those. Follica please for Christ sake, give a product to us in 2015!!! I beg you from my heat!!!!! I cannot wait anymore!! please!!!!

        • McJ says:

          Hey, I get the frustration but personally speaking, it does me no good. Puretech haven’t said at all how the money is to be allocated. The reason that people thought the worst is that in articles, Follica wasn’t mentioned but again, the facts are Puretech got a big injection of money with potentially more to come. That’s it.

          I look at it this way, puretech have the money to pump into Follica – and you might find out something in the new year if they’re to get any of that – but also Follica first came to prominence in 2008 with the NBC interview and it’s almost 2015.

          So, 7 years for a new treatment to come to market is exceptionally fast…if that’s the case. Most new treatments are 10 years +. Now I know the big thing with Follica – and still is according to this last xconomy article – is that they’re using known and tested compounds which should speed things up but science isn’t always straight forward. So, my own perspective is to look at positively. I have no clue what’s going to happen, All I can do is look at the facts.

          • MZ says:

            Follica was launched in 2006, yes things are taking a long time to come to fruition, but that only means we are close. They do have the best in the business running this company, and seem very serious in releasing products and treatments.

            Sucks that they are quiet, but our patience will be rewarded soon.

          • MZ says:

            Follica was formed in 2005, actually. So it’s been 10 years. Ok, I guess I can patiently wait a little while longer.

          • julian says:

            it’s been 10 years and a pretty website REBOOTING YOUR SCALP… fucking geniuses!!!

        • desperate says:

          Ok but 7 years for somebody who said it would be 2-3 years is a big drawback. It seems to me they’re done. The fact Follica isn’t mentioned in the Puretech plans says it all. Follica was their biggest bet. Now they’ve retreated. I don’t know.. I would love tho think things look good but I can’t see how.

  128. abouthair says:

    Hair symbolizes physical strength and virility; the virtues and properties of a person are said to be concentrated in his hair and nails. It is a symbol of instinct, of female seduction and physical attraction. Baldness may suggest sterility. Hair flowing depicts freedom and looseness; the unwilling removal of hair may be a castration symbol. Carries the context of magical power; witches had their hair shaven off, as well as in the Bible, in which Samson loses all his power when his locks are stripped. Heavy relations to fertility and even love (the quantity is related to love-potential). It can be thought of as the external soul.

  129. McJ says:

    Just an updated article on old news about puretech’s recent funding – although Follica does get a mention of sorts in this article if you’re a pedant -but it’s worth noting the JP Morgan Health Conference next week;

    Possibly some news could come out of that. Not likely but worth keeping an eye on.

    • McJ says:

      Scratch that, this is new news – they just to another 50 mill.

      Good news for Follica hopefully.

      • julian says:

        Follica is so damned forgotten that never mention it anymore.. worrying.. well, another 50 million… wasn’t Cotsarelis the one who said they just needed 20 million for a cure or 2 million for a better than Propecia product? Let’s see what comes out of that as you put it McJ… hopefully this is good news for Follica and they get what they need finally.

        • MZ says:

          If Follica didn’t get any money from this $107 million, it was never going to succeed. Having said that, they were extremely positive about their venture just a year ago, and we haven’t had any real news from them since then.

          We know they have a compound that can inhibit the effects of pgd2 because they proved that they can do that in culture. “$2 million for a treatment that’s better than minox and propecia” would be worth billions. I think the silence and injection of funds is terrific, it must mean they are moving forward. If they weren’t they’d probably let us know, unprompted. Cotsarelis telling that guy Desmond they didn’t have any more money was probably to deflect any further questions about follica and their progress, because once you say that, what’s there to talk about?

          • julian says:

            Hope you’re right. If they’re not moving forward or failed they had to tell that. I remember that Curis once they gave up they came and told unprompted they couldn’t move forward anymore. That’s nice. I can stand if they are hiding a treasure but they’re motherfuckers if they are hiding a failure.

  130. Joey says:

    Guys, has a good summary of breaking developments. I really hope we get there by 2020.

  131. McJ says:

    From the Fiercebiotech article, some of the positives for some potential movement on Follica include the talk about devices – we know Follica will use a device to remove a layer of skin – and also this comment;

    ” She said they currently have five projects with human proof-of-concept that are ready to be advanced into full programs.”

    It’s a time will tell (yet again) scenario to find out what is what but I’d be very surprised if we didn’t get some further info on Follica sometime this year. Given the secrecy – which is easy to understand if you think about it – and given they did a phase II trial under the radar, it’s likely they’ve been working quietly away since the 2013 fgf9 article. We can only hope I suppose.

    Again, I wouldn’t be shocked that Follica haven’t been mentioned in relation the puretech’s new funding rounds as no project has been specifically mentioned by the company as receiving funds.

    • MZ says:

      They definitely have something that works, otherwise they wouldn’t be behaving this way. Cotsarelis often gives ambiguous answers with regard to follica.

      As a matter of fact, he stated in regards to the PGD2 announcement in 2012 that they’ll have to “team up with a company” in order to “answer” any questions regarding the discovery, or about a topical formulation. Well, I actually watched his presentation at the hair congress, and at the end he thanks the people who worked on this with him. One of the people he mentioned was Yaping Liu, a senior MERCK investigator. Her name is on all of the work done with Garza, so I think it’s safe to say that Merck is that company.

      What’s even funnier about it is that when he mentions where they work, he quickly mumbles where Yaping Liu works. Funny isn’t it? A researcher and doctor giving a presentation, and the only time you catch him mumbling or saying something under his breath is to mention which pharmaceutical company she works at. I wonder what he was trying to do there? It’s at the end of the video if anyone cares to have a look.

      • McJ says:

        Yeah, very interesting find. I suspect there has to be something in the works. The big questions I suppose are when and how effective will it be? Never quite understood the Follica naysayers. I get that people (myself included) were a little upset about the NBC interview and the 3 year timeline but the PR folks at puretech and Follica have done a decent job of reigning expectations in in recent years.

        They have a great team at puretech (including Langer) and Follica. The best of any around looking at this issue. I for one am pleased a company like this even exists and they certainly do owe anyone anything. I’m thankful they may be on to the first truly viable solution to treating hairloss in men and women.

        All of the future I guess but I’d guess there’ll be some sort of news in the coming months. Hopefully it’s good!

        • McJ says:

          *don’t owe anyone anything* I meant to say.

          • MZ says:

            Cots seems to believe it will be more effective than propecia, that’s gotta be pretty good. He’s on record saying that. I’m also very thankful for a team like this to be working on this issue. They seem to be the very best in all aspects of this business.

            Also, a researcher who worked on pgd2/hair (Gurpreet) used to work at Gilette, and now works at Allergan. I hope that the results from Allergan’s phase 2b studies are excellent enough to bring a bimatoprost treatment to market. These two together would solve hair loss for A LOT of people and would be prescribed together.

            There are other topical treatments in the pipeline with other companies. I’m sure Follica and Merck know this, and will be inclined to get theirs out first. My dream would be that these other ones – CB0301, SM04554, DA-4001 etc will get through phase 2, then BAM! Follica announces a new treatment and they make an enormous amount of money and solve hair loss for a lot of happy people.

          • baldnessissadness says:

            the problem for a balding guy is that every day of his life is a bad hair day! A bad hair day is not going to be never a really good day. You’ll never feel as good as you could as if you felt you’re looking good, and if your hair is not good, if you feel that, you can’t feel good, you cannot!! Thats a problem that HAS TO BE SOLVED !! really HAS!! IT’S NOT FAIR.. it’s cruel.

  132. jeffbridges says:

    Follica, a Breakthrough that never breaks through…. SEEK AND TIRED.

    • MZ says:

      Relax, Cotsarelis himself said confidently that creating a pgd2 topical inhibitor “shouldn’t take too long.” This was almost 3 years ago, and they knew about pgd2 back in 2007, maybe even earlier. FDA trials take a long time, I’m certain we’ll see something from them sooner rather than later.

      • julian says:

        Crossing fingers to bimatoprost be a strong hair shaft thickener and provide results cosmetically significant. I don’t mean regrow hair, but make weak hair strong again would be incredible on its own.

        • julian says:

          if it can turn barely visible hairs into thick and healthy ones that will be a miracle. Neither Minoxidil nor Finasteride can do that. They’re too weak, cause minimal changes only. Hair that has been thinning for a long time don’t get any changes with them. The only hope is this scalp version of bimatoprost. Let’s see.

          • MZ says:

            What a lot of people don’t understand that bim + pgd2 inhibitor = holy grail of treatments. It would be an utter monopoly, and in most cases you would see both used together. Women would be able to use them too. This is GONNA happen, just a matter of when. Too much money to be made, and the science is REAL.

          • julian says:

            Hope you’re right MZ.. really hope.

          • MZ says:

            I believe I am, otherwise I wouldn’t be spreading this stuff. I’ve scoured the internet looking for every single bit of information on Follica, including interviews etc. This pgd2 theory is backed up by multiple studies (3 I believe). He’s said that finding the right gpr44 receptor blocker “shouldn’t take too long.” That he would have to team up with a company to answer any questions regarding a treatment, and as I’ve posted earlier, a senior Merck investigator has her name all over those studies. He’s said that it would cost “$2million to produce,” all of these things would indicate that it’s on the horizon.

            Why be so confident and leave the door open, so to speak? His answers are so confident too, how does he know it would be more effective than minoxidil and propecia? He’s a doctor and a scientist, I doubt he would make such a claim unless there was some evidence to back it up.

            Regarding bimatoprost + pgd2 inhibitor:
            The hair loss treatment market would be cornered. That’s 10 billion a year, and you would need to keep using them over and over to see the effect. Guaranteed money every year. No possible way propecia and minoxidil will be our best bet for the near future.

          • McJ says:

            There’s a lot of speculation there – I’m cautiously optimistic but I would keep expectations a little bit lower. I definitely think there’s more to come with Follica – and it would certainly point to a one off treatment or something a lot less regular than minox or propecia – and I’m fairly optimistic we’ll hear something this year.

            But what Cots said to that guy Desmond shouldn’t be taken as gospel. He likely fed him lines to get rid of the guy. Follica’s approach is refreshing in the sense that there’s a lot of science to back up the wounding theory and of course Follica’s own trials.

            Given the fact that Puretech has just received a bunch of money and also the fact that the 10billion dollar estimate is only for the small number people who actually try to do something about their hairloss – the actual market for a more permanent solution to hairloss is much much bigger. That alone will be motivation enough for a company like Follica. Plus we don’t know where they’re at with fgf9 trials, if they’ve even started them yet.

          • julian says:

            That’s true, we don’t know if he told the guy the truth, probably not, so these numbers don’t mean much. It’s very strange a guy from a company who never said a word and keep their information so shut and all of a sudden say that they need 2 million to finish a product that wouldn’t be that gooood but would be better than what’s the best. Very odd isn’t it? and now we know that their sponsors got 100 million dollars, to do what?
            and they won’t grab nothing, knowing that according to their own words they’ve have produced results never before achieved by any other studies… new hair follicles? theres gotta be something between these lines.. Why they changed the looks of their website? Why they keep renewing patents? fgf9? what they’ve been doing about it?

          • McJ says:

            It’s annoying – all the question marks – but it really is a waiting game. I still think there’s a decent chance of hearing more Follica news this year, what with puretech’s recent funding and they were very active during the JP Morgan Healthcare conference too. I get the impression that Follica are up to something…but that’s just a guess. Who knows really? Recent indications would seem to point to something hopefully good on the horizon.

            Fingers and toes crossed!

          • MZ says:

            Hey, guess what? This guy Gurpreet who has the original patent entitled “reduction of hair growth by applying an agonist of prostaglandin dp-receptor” works for Allergan and is the lead investigator of using bimatoprost for hair loss. This patent is the fruit of Cots’ pgd2 work and was filed before Cots pgd2 patents in 2003.

            Interesting huh? I wonder if that means Cots’ work with Merck on PGD2 and Gurpreet’s work with bimatoprost at Allergan. I find this quite revealing, even though there is no other info. I believe this connects a few more dots.

            Further advances my speculation that bimatoprost (if successful) will be released along with a pgd2 inhibitor, giving us a holy grail of treatments. Too much money to be made, and these guys are closely linked, as are their potential products.

          • julian says:

            OK.. but for us it doesn’t exist… there’s nothing to be done and we don’t know if or when there will be. And time doesn’t stop… I was optimistic some time ago but getting more and more concerned.. can’t wait much anymore.

          • julian says:

            Propecia and Minoxidil did a pretty good job and are all that it is. But Propecia is almost 20 years old and nothing new has come after it. They’ve made a lot of money already. It’s time something better arises and take their places. What kind of science is this that can’t enhance in twenty years?

  133. Bruck says:

    (01/2015) I recently attended a seminar that combined and promoted both the
    medical and financial entrepreneur companies. Was very informative and well attended.
    I have news (not good). I spoke with persons very familiar with Follica. They confirmed that the company does have financial problems and has not been able to obtain additional funding. They also knew of no human studies being
    conducted by them. While at the seminar I tried to promote Follica and the major benefits of bringing to market a good product for hair loss therapy.

    • MZ says:

      Interesting…however, Cotsarelis does have a grant through the NIH for hair follicle neogenesis in response to wounding that lasts through 2018. Perhaps he’ll have to do more work with it, and fgf9 in order to do one more FDA trial.

      I’m still positive about a pgd2 product despite this news. But it’s not really “news,” he told us this months ago. It always struck me that a new treatment of a pgd2 inhibitor was necessary to the process of creating new follicles, but would be a stand-alone product to prevent hair loss.

      • julian says:

        what pisses me off with Follica is this silence. We don’t know nothing, never. Why not a bit of information by this company? why not sharing a little about whats going on? It does no harm. Funding is not a problem as Puretech is full of cash now. But we don’t know if they’ll give something to Follica. If not that speaks for itself and they’re broke. But they never say a word, good or bad. We’re blind and may be hoping like idiots if they have really failed. It’s really annoying to be waiting news of this company. They should tell us something sometimes. WTF.

    • McJ says:

      Could you shed a little bit more light on this Bruck – could you be more specific about where and who you were talking to if that’s possible? The money thing doesn’t add up for me in light of Puretech’s big grab of dough recently.

      • julian says:

        This guy is a troll, McJ.. don’t take it

        • McJ says:

          I kinda figured that but I couldn’t resist. I had him pegged a while ago. Not so much a troll as full of shit. But I guess they’re the same.

          Still, be prepared for a potential lean spell in news. I really do think, what with the recent Puretech grab of money, that we’ll see something in the way of solid news this year. Could be a while in coming though. The JP Morgan conference would’ve been ideal I would’ve thought for some sort of announcement.

          All the same, Puretech still hasn’t said how that money will be allocated so we should hear something, good or bad, this year I would guess.

    • julian says:

      Bruck.. you’re a TROLL.. FOR SURE

  134. desperate says:

    Allergan trials?? nothing yet??

  135. julian says:

    So a guy comes and says he could CURE baldness (the greatest, oldest, most important aesthetical-psychological problem affecting in some degree something like 80-90% of men, a great many still very young and many women as well)… well, he says he can cure THIS for 20 million dollars? And the company where he works grabs 100+ million. Now imagine he really can do that with this money (20 fucking miserable million) to produce something that has been IMPOSSIBLE for all the history of mankind, for 10 thousand years, since Adam and Eve, since the creation… So let’s imagine this motherfucker has it, the cure costing 20 million… HOW MUCH FUCKING DOLLARS THIS COMPANY AND THIS SON OF A BITCH WILL AMASS WITH SOMETHING LIKE THAT???? IF 80-90% of the male population of the WORLD and a 40-50% of women as well maybe… No matter how costly it would be, people would pay for this.. BECAUSE IT’S SOMETHING IMPOSSIBLE!!!! IMPOSSIBLE MADE POSSIBLE is INVALUABLE!! 20 million is nothing, is ridiculous if it can give way to something of this proportion, its insane!!! to even imagine that… Cotsarelis, if he in fact said that, he is mocking on us! If he can why they don’t back him up?? The baldness cure is a dream of MANKIND of all AGES!! it has been anecdotal for times, the charlatans, snake oil sellers… we see that in cowboy movies, it has turned cliche a long while ago already.. so it isn’t a mere aesthetical problem? it represents much more than just that, it is a STRUGGLE of man, a FIGHT man can’t win, never could, for all his HISTORY!!! it represents THE IMPOSSIBLE!!! So what are 20 million dollars, 200 million dollars, 1 billion dollars… to attain impossible???!!!

    • julian says:

      let’s say the price of a treatment is 1000 dollars, to put it very cheap.. I guess at least one forth of the male population of the world could afford that… how much they would earn? 900 BILLION DOLLARS.. I guess it would cost much more but I still guess that 25% of men would pay for it even if it cost is 10 times of more!! They say the annual market for Hair loss is about 10 BILLION.. well, That makes you know that a single treatment only once for every balding MAN, not to say the many many women that would seek even to just have fuller hair, not to say the ones really suffering from alopecia.. Well, its a 90 years of sales comparing to the yearly actual figure. Does that justify or not a 20 MI..llion investment? So WTF is that they don’t get it????????

      • The Alchemist says:

        I think Cotsarelis was replying off the cuff with Desmond about the need for money and was most likely yanking his chain a bit, probably to get him to stop pestering him at the show. I wouldn’t put much stock in it. As you’ve pointed out, financially it would make no sense for them not to proceed, if what Cotsarelis said was true. So, clearly something else is going on.
        Personally, I don’t think Follica is doing anything. They are a shell company now, which has no more worth than the IP. They let go of their entire scientific and managerial staff, including the CEO and they patented everything they could. Those two things, taken together, point to them closing shop and shoring up IP incase any competitors make progress using methods similar to theirs. If you look at their web page, the only people listed are from Puretech ventures – these are not the people who would manage the day to day science or clinical trials and FDA paper pushing. So how would anything be happening for them?
        Puretech just had an influx of money, so, if Follica is still viable, then there should be some “in the news” type activity. New hires, clinical trial announcements etc… If we don’t see anything like that soon, I’d say it’s lights out for good.
        Sucks that this is the case; and I hope I’m completely wrong.

        • McJ says:

          Probably spot on. Although they did hire Neal Walker on the qt a couple years ago to replace William Ju… So who knows what they’re really up to but I’d agree that if we don’t hear anything in the next couple months – especially after the money grab by puretech – my confidence in Follica would be fairly diminished.

          Although again, I believe Olle mentioned that they outsourced a lot of their work so, really, it’s such an annoying guessing game. We know nothing but some news soon – hopefully good – would bode well.

          • MZ says:

            Neal Walker is an expert is novel topical dermatological treatments, no? I’d say that’s a good sign, and would indicate they’ve hired someone with more experience bringing products to market. He’s also the executive chairman, so I’d say he’s leading the company to releasing something.

            If they let go of their scientific and managerial staff, it may mean their in a different stage of their operation. Why keep certain staff on hand, if there is no more need for them? It’s all speculation either way, but I don’t see why we should look at it negatively if we really don’t know what happened there. How bout a little positivity, eh?

            It’s been since June of 2013 that we’ve had any news, and I agree, if we don’t hear anything soon, it’s bad.

          • julian says:

            Problem is why this secret forever?? No doubt they had difficult in getting more money since nobody knows what they have, they don’t let nobody know any information, so there comes a time when everybody is suspicious, including investors off course. It is very strange a company that don’t show any results, never!! We don’t even know if they are doing something or if their arms are crossed, if they are doing trials or have finished, if they are planning to do some more.. nothing.. it’s absurd!!! all this secrecy!! And it is frustrating to me, it pisses anyone off I guess, to start thinking these guys may be doing nothing, no trials, have stopped everything and keep quiet as if they’re working. I mean, if they are working and trying to shape up their product, device or whatever, trying to get its best, to find out how to make it really work that’s OK, I get it.. but keep silent and knowing theres a lot o people awaiting for this and rooting for them to succeed, well that is disgusting! I hope it’s not the case, that they’re doing their job and progressing and silent because it’s still not the right time to show it.. but this is starting to seem too naive after all this time. Unfortunately we’re talking to Gods.. really.. And I hope they are Gods because if they got a solution to baldness that would be a miracle indeed, a MIRACLE with all the letters. That would make them God.

          • McJ says:

            Still mostly upbeat about Follica’s tech however. They have a completely different and novel approach to anyone else in this game. They aim to create a completely fresh environment for the scalp with wounding and then the application of known and tested compounds to kick start new hair growth.

            The fact that they’ve created new follicles in humans really doesn’t get enough attention. No one else has done that. That’s huge. But there are questions about quality and quantity of said hair but still the platform works. I assume it’s a case of getting things right and cosmetically viable at this point. Fingers crossed we hear something in the next couple months with regards to all that puretech money. They still have the best team in the business. But because we don’t hear news and updates everyday, people assume the worst.

          • The Alchemist says:

            One thing that gives me a small glimmer of hope is that they’ve not published anything in regards to growing new hair on a human subject with their wounding protocol. Bernat Olle is on record saying, unequivocally, they’ve been able to do it. That would be a big deal, scientifically speaking. And I would think something worthy of publication in a major journal. However, to date, they’ve not done that. If Follica were truly out of the game, and they were convinced their technique is a dead end, I think they would go ahead and publish their phase II results. Maybe there is an outside chance they’re still viable and want to keep their process under wraps? Or maybe a publication is still making it’s way through the publishing process?
            I don’t know. It’s all quite depressing. I’ve lost hope that histogen can make it through. They’ve struggled with funding and the only reason I can come up with to explain it, is that their results were underwhelming. I also don’t have high hopes for Replicel. Seems like cells losing their inductivity during the replication process will be an insurmountable problem. Their % for terminal hair growth in phase I was extremely low – numbers were a better with vellous counted in, but cosmetically we need terminals, not vellous. I don’t see an extra set of injections changing those numbers to any great extent.

          • McJ says:

            Hadn’t thought about that – the fact that they haven’t published anything with regards to growing new hairs on humans and why that might be a positive. I have a feeling Follica may be on to something but time will tell.

          • julian says:

            But they will be on to something how long? 50 years?? they are on to something since 2008.. 7 years and they are in the same place?

          • julian says:

            everyday no… never!! Follica is a complete shut black box.. unless Cotsarelis has a few drinks and talks to a guy in the street… well, somebody should make friends with this guy and take him to a bar… the only way to get access to information from this company.

          • julian says:

            Neal Walker isn’t mentioned either.. He is not there, if you look for him in the web page, where he is?? William Ju got out a long time ago and not a single word. This company is too ODD!!!!!!!!!! I just wanted to know if they are working, if there have been trials or in which phase they are, things like that. Some kind of place in the pipeline they are.. they will never tell…

        • julian says:

          Why not telling at least in which phase they are, or are planning? why not a single statement about nothing never.. why??????????? I think that itself does more harm than giving out a little bit of information. I think they won’t grab a single dime from Puretech anymore, it looks like that to me. They’re done.

    • The Alchemist says:

      That’s great! But, I think this will take a very long time to come to a commercial solution. There are still many technical hurdles (hair cycling, growth direction etc.) they need to overcome before they can even think about a clinical trial. As we’ve seen, the clinical trial process is long and fraught with difficulties, both scientifically and from a business perspective. I’d put this in the 10-20yr bin. Next generation won’t deal with baldness. We’re the last to fight that battle.

      • julian says:

        “We have developed a method using human pluripotent stem cells to create new cells capable of initiating human hair growth. The method is a marked improvement over current methods that rely on transplanting existing hair follicles from one part of the head to another,” said Alexey Terskikh, Ph.D., associate professor in the Development, Aging, and Regeneration Program at Sanford-Burnham. “Our stem cell method provides an unlimited source of cells from the patient for transplantation and isn’t limited by the availability of existing hair follicles.” SOLUTION TO HAIR TRANSPLANTS.. The main problem with hair transplants has always been the quantity of hair.. very limited.. from the donor area compared to the amount needed to really cover the bald or thinning area, much greater.. until the quantity is limited no matter how skilled is the doctor, the results won’t be satisfactory, I think, just a mild improvement. With this problem solved, HTs become a solution in fact, since they will be able to give a bald person a full and DENSE head of hair.

    • julian says:

      “Our next step is to transplant human dermal papilla cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells back into human subjects,” said Terskikh. “We are currently seeking partnerships to implement this final step.”

      I don’t see why they won’t get this partnership very easily… this is a mine of gold!! an mountain of gold!!! they will solve the main and last problem of hair transplants.

  136. julian says:

    From what I understand, they have solved the puzzle. Aderans and Replicel used dermal papilla cells so they hadn’t good results, as demonstrated. But these pluripotent stem cells seem to really work, and according to them, they can be picked from the same individual and multiplied and after implanted they produce functional terminal hairs. And they can be grown in unlimited quantity. So, I mean, not difficult to test this in humans, apparently. This is undeniably a major step toward a definite solution to baldness. A load of money awaits the ones who can bring this to reality.

    • Curious says:

      I agree with you here. IF they are able to replicate this in humans his is he piece to the puzzle we have been waiting for – well at least for many of us I think that if we had unlimited donor hair we would consider transplants a viable option if the price wasn’t insane (with advances in robotics and essentially cutting half of the process out -removing donor hair from head – I would assume that prices would begin to go down eventually). We would still need multiple transplants over a lifetime but we could also be more proactive as we wouldn’t have to worry about our donor limit… As well as more density (assuming for a cost). Also I’m just going to assume that this will have to run the course of the typical 3 phase trial but maybe someone else can chime in regarding safety trials for stem cells and duplicated cells. Obviously if these things have been shown to be cancerous or a risk they will have to be fully tested but if they have proved to integrate with the body well in the past maybe they have an easier path (probably similar length trial but easier for the company to move forward). This all depends if they can apply the same technique to humans but it looks hopeful. Cheers.

  137. Nicky says:

    I dont know about that. I was searching around reddit and found this site which talks about a cure taking at least 15 years.

    Thing is with all the FDA testing needed its gonna take awhile. Its always good to be hopefull tho :)

  138. MZ says:

    I’m personally pleased with the fact that it seems a number of companies are closing in on the progress made by follica and others with regards to a new topical treatment and a cure. Competition is good, because it means that if they want to cash in on all of their work, they better put something out there, and soon.

    The patents for propecia and minoxidil have expired, and it’s going to be open-season for anyone trying to put out a new treatment. If something pgd2 related doesn’t come to market anytime soon, there are 3 or more topical solutions already in phase 2 that hold a lot of promise. I know that one is a topical anti-androgen that is virtually side-effect free, the other increases WNT production and there’s another, but I can’t remember what it is. Each of these are backed up by excellent science and should work very well. If Follica has nothing at this point, and bimatoprost ends up working really well, they’re going to miss out on billions they could’ve made prescribing these treatment together.

    With regards to a cure and injecting stem cells, follica is much further along, but lets say these researchers want to do their trials in Japan, they’ll be on the fast track and follica may be screwed. Either way, I like that there are other companies out there that are far along, because it’s high time that follica got off their asses and released something.

    • MZ says:

      This is it, guys. This is the PGD2 treatment we’ve all been waiting for! Click the link and read the article. Woohoo!

    • McJ says:

      Unless I’m mistaken, this is still a ways off from market. An IND takes what, 5+ years for approval. Still, wish these guys all the best. A good step in the right direction.

      • julian says:

        “Setipiprant had previously been studied as a potential allergic inflammation treatment and had undergone eight clinical trials, including a Phase III study in seasonal allergic rhinitis patients and a Phase II proof of concept study in asthma patients, resulting in a safety database of more than 1,000 patients. Actelion suspended the development of setipiprant due to a lack of efficacy seen in the above-mentioned clinical trials for inflammatory disorders. Treatment in all studies was well tolerated across all treatment groups and no serious adverse events were reported.”

        I guess if it proves effective, the safety information has been cleared.

        What has to be found and it’s critical is: Setipiprant can only prevent hair loss and it would be just a better form of Finasteride/minoxidil?

        Or it can really REVERSE the process, I mean, to really make hair GROW????

        That’s what remains obscure for me.. Cotsarelis had said he believed the suppression of PGD2 by an inhibitor COULD reverse hair loss but that would have to be tested, that was when he came up with his study.

        So, that’s the question, can Setipiprant just PREVENT and INHIBIT hair loss OR can it effectively REVERSE hair loss and REGROW hair??????

      • MZ says:

        It doesn’t take 5 years for an IND. That’s ridiculous, plus the drug has passed 8 trials, including a phase 3 safety. Filing for an IND is a small step that allows them to transport the drugs across state lines for purposes of research.

        • McJ says:

          I’d be cautious about this one is all. No timelines given or anything like that. Efficacy is also unknown. Too soon to tell.

          • julian says:

            Problem is Efficacy.. it has to be real good, to make a difference, otherwise it’s useless I think. We don’t need another Finasteride. Safety is not an issue anymore and if it really can regrow hair things will be fast you can bet that. But that as you said is unknown.

          • MZ says:

            The timelines are that this will be cheap and quick because of the safety profile. They only have to prove efficacy in a hair regeneration trial.

            However, the efficacy is known because they tested the effect of setipiprant in human hair models in vitro. It inhibited the effect of pgd2, and they were also able to determine the dosage. With a certain amount they can allow the hair to grow to it’s normal length.

            I would also note that the page where it lists “program next steps” there are is a lot of blank space (where I assume other information could go). They only list one trial, and it may be possible they only need one. This drug has been over-studied in FDA trials.

          • julian says:

            MZ, I really root that you’re right. It’s about time that something new hit the shelves.. it’s almost two decades that the last treatment available came up, Finasteride is still today the newest best thing to fight baldness, it’s absurd, don’t you think? Since that time, nothing new ever appeared, not to mention bullshits like laser devices and snake oils as ever. I really pray that this Setipiprant thing are powerful enough to make hair follicles to regain their strength and grow strong again, if not all of them at least a lot of..

    • julian says:

      I hope you’re right and that setipiprant is our savior!! I hope it is and it won’t take too long to be sold, to be REAL for us. It seems it is safe and has been extensively tested for safety concerns. What remains uncertain is its degree of efficacy, which is critical.. I mean, just another Finasteride isn’t what we expect at this point, isn’t it? I hope Cotsarelis belief that it COULD REVERSE the hair loss process and effectively regrow hair in bald areas is right so that it could CURE hair loss and restore our self-image, esteem and confidence. If it can, and let’s root and pray it can, I guess it won’t take long as safety has already been tested and there are no issues about it anymore. EFFICACY is what it’s got to get. Hope it HAS IT.

  139. julian says:

    An interview from June, 2012.. just previous to KYTHERA’s..

    Dr. Van Voorhees: Should this allow for reversal of previously lost hairs or do you expect that it will only play a role in retaining hairs that have not yet miniaturized?

    Dr. Cotsarelis: We don’t know. Like anything you’d have to test a large number of people to see how they respond. We don’t know if people who are already completely bald will regrow hair. We do know that the stem cells are present in men who are balding so if this is indeed the inhibitor preventing stem cells from making progenitor cells, there’s a possibility this would help there as well.

    Should they know it already???

  140. julian says:

    Well, that’s he (Cotsarelis) saying they would need to partner with a company to conduct the trials so as to respond that question.. can it reverse hair loss (used topically) or simply prevent it?

    • julian says:

      Now we know this company is Kythera (with Actelion agreement) and they’ve testing it for about 2 years…

  141. julian says:

    “Setipiprant had previously been studied as a potential allergic inflammation treatment and had undergone eight clinical trials, including a Phase III study in seasonal allergic rhinitis patients and a Phase II proof of concept study in asthma patients, resulting in a safety database of more than 1,000 patients. Actelion suspended the development of setipiprant due to a lack of efficacy seen in the above-mentioned clinical trials for inflammatory disorders. Treatment in all studies was well tolerated across all treatment groups and no serious adverse events were reported.”


    My point is.. they were testing for safety, 1000+ patients… many of them should be hair loss sufferers obviously… so why didn’t they reported an incredible growth of hair? OR it should be that setipiprant would have to be applied topically to really have an effect in hair loss?

    • Mr. Z says:

      It’s possible that oral administration of the drug does not reach the active site, or that the doses used in those studies are not appropriate for hair growth. So, you may be correct when you ask if it has to be used topically. And/Or, maybe it needs to be used along with something else…for instance, wounding to generate regrowth.

  142. McJ says:

    Old but interesting article that came on after the fgf9 news in 2013;

    So many questions – and answers we’re not going to get anytime soon I reckon – but it would be interesting to find out how it translated to humans. Even if the hair was susceptible to the same process of loss, it would last for a good number of years. A hair cycle is pretty long. Fingers crossed we’ll hear about that Puretech money being pumped into Follica soon.

    • julian says:

      ow my god… 2013?? still fgf9?? Why Kythera didn’t sponsor it if it is so damn good? why didn’t Kythera partnered Follica then? Why are they just interested in the PGD2? Puretech won’t give a cent to Follica apparently. I don’t know how we are still talking about this company, and dreaming that they will show something anytime.. they don’t give a F… you know. That’s the truth.

  143. julian says:


    • Vikki says:

      Maybe they, like pretty much everyone else, have no idea how well / not well Follica is doing, but have seen enough evidence of the efficacy of setipiprant to warrant investment?

      • julian says:

        But they have contact with George Cotsarelis, they would want to know that before investing, wouldn’t it? Cotsarelis works for Follica and is working for Kythera too? very odd…

        • Vikki says:

          I’m speculating wildly, here. But it’s entirely possible (very likely, actually) that Dr Cotsarelis has fingers in several pies, so to speak. For example, he is on Follica’s board, but also works at UPenn.
          The Follica approach / research is separate to this setipiprant stuff – it looks as though Kythera entered into agreements with Actelion (the developers of setipiprant) and UPenn, who published the PGD2 research. Very interesting that Kythera have been sponsoring research into this treatment at UPenn for the past 2 years, and have now (presumably) put more money into the project – which, to me, is a sure sign that there is a great deal to be optimistic about with regards to this potential treatment.
          I’m guessing that the Follica research is already covered by some other agreements, NDAs, patents, etc. and wouldn’t necessarily form part of discussions between Dr Cotsarelis and Kythera.
          Working in science myself, I can say it’s quite normal that an academic researcher may have several funding sources and will quite likely be involved in a number of separate projects, possibly with several different external partners.

          If I was being super-optimistic, I’d say that there are 2 possible treatments coming out of Dr Cotsarelis’ research. This is very good news – imagine, for example that Follica releases a product which is highly effective, but maybe only for 80% of people. If you’re one of the unfortunate 20%, or you’re allergic to the drug(s) used, then there’s another effective treatment from Kythera that might work for you.

          This situation would be sooooo much better than the current situation!

  144. Vikki says:

    No idea whether this is noteworthy, but it is (to me at least) interesting…on Kythera’s executive team there are three individuals (Frederick Beddingfield, Elisabeth Sandoval, Ryan Irvine) who all previously worked for Allergan. The first two had some involvement with Latisse.

    • McJ says:

      Could be… Think there was a Neal Walker link to Allergan too, no? In any event, I guess we’re all kind of waiting to see what happens to that Puretech money and where it might go. There was a lot of unwarranted negativity around that for some reason but Follica were mentioned in a press release put out by Puretech themselves;

      Time will tell but the naysayers have, for some batsh#t crazy reason, been out for Follica for ages. They clearly have the best team in the biz and Follica outsourced a lot of their work hence all those departures from Follica a couple years ago. I’m thankful a company like that, success or not, exist. Cause any new treatment isn’t going to come from these armchair scientists or people who berate Follica for no reason. It’s a waiting game. Always has been and I get the frustration in that.

      • julian says:

        They just mention Follica as one of the companies that Puretech sponsor.. No mention as if they will grab a portion of that money.. yes, it’s a waiting game indeed, and it sucks cause we may be waiting for nothing since they don’t let us know anything, never.

      • Vikki says:

        I think he was at Allergan previously, now you mention it.
        I’m very thankful, like you, that Follica exists. Even if it ultimately fails, it’ll have moved hair regeneration research forward.
        I, personally, don’t think it will fail though. It’s taking longer than people would like, but there is obviously something good going on behind the scenes or they’d have wound the company up by now.

    • Julian says:

      Good to know that.. I think it is noteworthy FOR SURE.

  145. julian says:

    A good sign that Follica is doing great would be an announcement of funding. We already know Puretech got money and would like to hear from them that some of it is going to Follica, they could just tell something about that, couldn’t they? they don’t need to tell nothing more than that.

  146. julian says:

    how long it will take until we hear a word from Follica? or Puretech stating that it will give their share… frustrating to wait. Worrying…

  147. julian says:

    Well, this article is about to complete 2 years. Follicas “breakthrough” is seven years now. Double the time they thought.. if all go well, according to Cotsarelis. Off course, all didn’t go well.. All we know now is the same we knew back in 2008.. and we got less hair than in 2008, not more as we dreamed by now we were supposed to have. It really sucks.

    • disappointed says:

      You might as well go after Nixon for declaring a “war on cancer” in the 1960’s. Cotsarelis — can you name a list of the drugs currently on the market which were discovered in his laboratory or for which he was on multiple Scientific Advisory Boards during the drugs development? Let it go already, he’s a doctor but he’s not the guy you want to call if you get sick, he’s been a professor running a basic research lab for many years. Not someone who has a lot of experience, despite his seniority, in the drug development field. He said something stupid in a NBC TODAY SHOW interview…. not in a Letter to the Editor of the journal Nature. Cots screwed up, and yeah, his company may carry on and they may flame out, as many often do.

      Developing a new drug or procedure is difficult. Even if there was no other competition on the planet there are many reasons for failure including terrible operations, poor translation from mouse to human, and weak business plan, to name a few.

      Puretech has funding, but they are a VC firm. Their main goal is to make a great monetary return. You don’t hedge your bets by dumping money into one group over and over. If Follica was impressing the hell out of Puretech, some cash would be forthcoming. If Follica is getting by but the results are anything less than stellar than who should Puretech give money to? Maybe other investments (including new ones) to hedge their bets. Otherwise Follica could potentially take down Puretech with them.Incidentally Puretech is not some incredibly huge fund, they are taking chances on very high risk/high reward efforts.

      • disappointed says:

        On that last sentence, I mean to write they are a smaller fund so their angle has to be to take chances on EARLY, high risk/high reward technology. Merck, Novartis, etc. would often ignore Cotsarelis proposing a hair regrowth tech. NOT based on tech alone, mind you. Investors are not like you or I and invest in “cool stuff.” They take into account the tech, OK and 1. business plan 2. strength of intellectual property 3. Team (including advisors, etc.). For #3 Cots. had ZERO biotech start up experience and no real relationship with his CEO prior to funding (like having a newlywed couple move into your house assuming they’ll work great just because they’re married). Anyway, my feeling is, look elsewhere if this is taking a psychological toll on you.

        • julian says:

          But look elsewhere where?? there’s nothing more.. Nobody seems to get interest in something which would make billions.. There should be hundreds of laboratories around the world chasing a cure but there’s just 3 or 4 and no one show great promise. I can’t understand that.

          • disappointed says:

            But what you’re describing is the problem — who said there is no interest? There are scientists who I’m sure are interested inducing the natural growth of new teeth in patients (vs implants or false teeth) but are there companies out there? First come the ultra life threatening diseases – cancer, lou gehrig’s disease, and so on. Convincing scientists to make hair regrowth as a priority in their labs above all else (when they may have relatives themselves who are sick and near death) is difficult. Your reasoning is $$$$, but if it was all about cash then most scientists wouldn’t be scientists to begin with. Next, you’re talking about an area (for the reason I mentioned, deadly diseases) with few models, few opportunities for collaborators. I can tell you to go to University X or company Y if you’re interested in getting access to leukemia cells that have been collected from hundreds of patients. But hair growth?

            There are some basic bio labs that study, e.g. skin, and they occasionally mention hair regrowth (which gets us all excited but that has to be taken with a grain of salt.

            I don’t have an answer for you right now (and I don’t think on this often, because of the diseases I want to target – whether cancer, heart disease, etc.). What I can say is that you shouldn’t panic and say there is “nothing” out there. For example, Moderna has a RNA technology – no proteins, no risk of viral insertion and a lower threshold to take from discovery to drug. With that tech, they could delivery say, a protein that blocks a hair loss inducer (PDG2?) without the worry of destroying someone’s kidney or liver. Or with Cas9 (but this is longer down the road) a topical application, once, using tech in say, David Liu’s lab could bring Cas9 protein into the scalp and give smoeone with poor genetics the necessary changes to a receptor for great hair. Big picture — you don’t have to work on hair loss day in and day out, we know some of the players, maybe enough of them — but if other broad application tech is on the rise, it will be applicable to hair loss and a host of other diseases nearly all at once.

          • julian says:

            Ok, scientists don’t like money but companies love it, So why there isn’t more interest on their part, cause it is clearly an unmet need, you may say not life-threatning, or minor because of that, which I disagree, but still a BIG market. It would generate the 10 billion – IN A YEAR ONLY… EASILY you mentioned. I would say a cure to this problem would make much more than 10 billion, you said in 10 years… a cure to baldness would make that in six months, you can bet that. Off course I’m talking about a cure, something which Medicine doesn’t know what is, it never cured nothing.

          • julian says:

            doctors know everything about a problem, a disease.. they just don’t know how to solve it.. great!! LOL

      • McJ says:

        Thanks for chiming in here again – always appreciate your comments. What did you make of the relatively recent puretech money grab? The fact is, they haven’t announced what exactly they’re going to do with that money – or specifically what programmes are getting a cash injection.

        I guess I figured that if we didn’t hear about Follica getting any of that money, then things probably weren’t looking great for them. Would you agree?

        Also there was something recently about Kythera and Upenn;

        Again, despite some of the noise, probably a good few years away from coming to market – if it was effective. I suppose I’m still quietly hoping that Follica are doing well…but I guess time will tell.

        • disappointed says:

          Hey there, I appreciate the thanks but just contributing what little I can when not overly stressing about my own projects.

          So, on your first question — all VC groups go through rounds of funding. Big firms that raise billions wouldn’t even talk to say, a Follica, when Puretech went in. That is, the big firms want to invest $100 million and get back $10 billion+ in 10 years, the guys asking for $10million aren’t even on the radar. And for good reason – smaller groups flame out. A bigger group can have really bad years, but that won’t cause them to implode. Along those lines, Puretech may invest in those high risk groups but they have to hedge their bets and spread their investments. Out of the current list of investments…. if 9 out of 10 fail, it may not be a surprise. If 3 out of 10 investment actually succeed (get bought up, expand, etc.) then we could all say, wow, 3 out 10 is darn good! Just because Puretech has $20-40 million more in new funding means nothing. A Phase II trial could cost more than that….. so you risk the money ALL on Follica, possibly fail, and then what’s left for the every other “we’re going to succeed” investment??? If Follica is on fire, sure Puretech would put in money to get a bigger piece of the pie but at this point Follica should have such exciting results that they should have money coming in from elsewhere.

          That’s my long winded way of stating — so what about Purtech not coming in for a second round, they help launch the little guys, not keep them fed. But for zero other monies coming in to Follica… not good.

          Kythera is a different approach. That’s fine. Cots doesn’t own the discoveries he makes and published — UPenn does. And they probably decided that giving a license to an established biotech was teh shortest route to success. If it pans out, a hair loss drug could be on the way…. in many years. Nothing dubious or in conflict there.

          I would say that even if you wiped out every “hair loss” company on the planet, it wouldn’t matter. Predicting the future in biotech is very difficult.

          • McJ says:

            As ever, very insightful. Thanks. I suppose I’ll keep an open, if somewhat less optimistic mind, on this. Of course, the Follica results could be great and they’re prepping right now for… Ah, I won’t go there. Too optimistic!

            I guess we’re coming up on almost two years since the last bit of news…And there have been a lot of silences in between over the years but I guess without new monies coming in, maybe not so great this time.

          • julian says:

            A BALDNESS CURE WOULD MAKE MUCH MUCH MORE THAN 10 BILLION IN 10 YEARS.. It makes more than this now with fewer than 10 percent of sufferers seeking help.. if there was an effective – SUPER EFFECTIVE, treatment, it would be 100% RUNNING after a this treatment, you doubt that???? then how much would it make? 80% of men around the world plus some 40% or more of women.. desperately going after it. More than half of the adult population (men and women) of this planet HAS SOME DEGREE OF BALDNESS.. Off course a great portion doesn’t have the means to pay for a treatment, if it is expensive, but still an ENORMOUS market. It would easily make much more than 10 billion/YEAR. You can roughly estimate it if you want.

          • disappointed says:

            You are getting away from my point here.
            A) a cure for all cancers would generate a trillion dollars
            B) therefore, the logic based on ‘A’ is that anybody who has some interesting results in mice deserves to have venture capitalists blow all their investment money on them.

            “a cure would generate 10 billion”
            – on its best day, what Cots published is not a cure. It was a basic finding that could possibly (possibly) translate to some level of therapy. And that therapy would be a service company (not the ideal model), where wounding and some factor(s) (??) would be added.
            OK – so let’s spend 1 billion dollars on Follica. Wait a minute… Follica isn’t a permanent, 100% successful cure. And from there maybe there are other reasons the venture capitalists are getting turned off to Follica — maybe it only works on 25 years olds, and over the age of 25 it sucks. Maybe the results across the scalp are highly variable so the patients look weird after treatment…. Suddenly you’re going from 10 billion dollars to 50 cents because nobody wants to pay for a therapy with weird results.

            Do you realize who Bob Langer at Puretech is? His lab has brought some really long shot therapies to patients with brain tumors, developmental defects, spinal damage, etc. etc. He’s not some close minded idiot who doesn’t care about therapy and doesn’t care about making money. And he and rest of the Puretech team invested 11 million dollars in Follica – of course they were excited about the company! Do you think Puretech would feel great if they just lost 11 million dollars?

          • julian says:

            I did not say That what Cotsarelis published is a Cure, I just said what is obvious, that Whoever finds or develops a Cure, will make TRILLIONS as well. It’s undeniable, you may calculate it yourself, just look at the current figures, which are spent with unsatisfactory treatments and drugs, the problem remains unsolved, needs are unmet, which explains why just a very small percentage of the people who NEED and WANT to have more hair (it’s a very large amount.. from various degrees of thin hair to slick bald heads, as you know).. well, it’s said to be 10% of the real market, only 10% are currently buying some kind of product and trying to do something about their hairless. 90 PERCENT, the rest, don’t do nothing about it because it’s useless, there is no cure, no matter how much you want to spend!! I live in Brazil, one of the richest men here, now he’s broke, but still very rich. This guy, after doing some hair transplants and seeing the obvious, that they can only recover a small amount due to the obvious limitation of the donor areas, well. now he uses a WIG, a hairpiece, toupee… this ridiculous thing which still today is the ultimate SOLUTION. Well, he wears a wig glued, literally GLUED to his scalp, a wig that cost him 25.000 dollars!!! plus what he has to spend monthly to clean, wash the wig and his scalp and glue it on it again, etc… imagine… IMAGINE how much he would pay to have HIS hair, natural hair, growing again, not having to deal with all this embarrassment, the embarrassment itself of having to wear a wig. I’m telling that to make you FEEL what it is that someone desperately in need of hair would do FOR HAIR… To me it’s clear that the companies, individuals involved in these researches and dermatology and whatever, to me they still didn’t get it, they don’t get it. They think what people spend nowadays is what they will continue to spend, not that 90 percent or almost that don’t spend a cent now WILL spend a lot of money as long as RESULTS are worth it. When they see REAL results, COSMETICALLY significant, I mean, a slick head turn into a Full head of hair overnight, they will chase that no matter what, you doubt that??

            That’s my point… the market is HUGE, but it needs a solution.. it has to be Big or otherwise it’s worthless. But once it exists, the market will respond. I don’t know, I’ve lost my hopes with Follica and Cotsarelis, unfortunately. Cause I can’t see anyone doing anything really promising. I hope they still have a chance and surprise us soon but it’s being overly optimistic to expect that since there are no signs that they’re doing fine.

  148. frustrated says:

    Xconomy, nobody will never ask Cotsarelis what the fuck is going on with Follica? ever??

  149. Aleluia says:

    Follica is done guys.
    We´ll have to wait 10 years at least for something “new”… pretty sad

    • V says:

      How do you know this?

    • julian says:

      I agree that these guys should have something to show already by now and it seems they don’t have, so I’m far from being optimistic about them, unfortunately. But I think they haven’t throw the towel yet, at least officially. where did you get that?

  150. julian says:

    I wonder if great minds like Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking studied medicine and not physics, what kind of advances wouldn’t have been done already. I’m pretty sure all maladies should have been cured.

  151. hairloser says:

    Is there a way to contact XCONOMY and ask them to try to talk to Follica and know about their progress a little, if there is any?? somebody could help?

  152. julian says:

    How come its so difficult to find a partner to invest in this:

    And how come they take so long to test that with HUMAN CELLS.. fuckkk

    • julian says:

      If they create a fucking hair to be implanted, HUMAN HAIR for Christ sake… this fucking problem is solved, it’s the same process of HAIR TRANSPLANT but without its limitation, the fucking donor area limitation.. IT’S JUST THAT, if you can replicate hairs, or healthy hair follicles, in any amount, THAT IS THE CURE, and it is worth BILLIONS. TRILLIONS!!!!!!! how can’t they see it??????????

      • Alek says:

        It´s really sad Julian. I really want to say good to words to you, but baldness cure seems to be very away from us.

        • julian says:

          I’m impressed with how with health things are so SLOW.. Man has progressed in all fields, technology, everything, it’s amazing how fast and how much!!! but in HEALTHCARE it’s a SLUG, there’s nothing… all it does is gather knowledge but NO SOLUTIONS to nothing, never!! It can’t solve anything, not even grow hair yet!! it’s amazing how incompetent man is in what should most interest him, his well being, his health, his life… SAD… really sad as you said.

          • julian says:

            Man already knows what happens in other galaxies but doesn’t know himself that well.. Can solve a problem in another solar system but can’t solve a problem in his own body… really odd!!! something must be wrong…

  153. Shalomm says:

    Replicel will be in the Market in 2018… Let´s pray for this…

    • julian says:

      let’s pray??? c’mon… Replicel is a piece of sh… If it’s to pray for something, pray for something sooner, and better than that.. for Christ…

      • julian says:

        For all rage that Follica gives me, their attitude.. I hope and “pray” they could still yield something, although more more unlikely… Allergan and their bimatoprost was to provide results of their trials soon and hopefully they should be good.. if it could do to tiny hairs what it did for the eyelashes of women… that’s what is or could be nearest, I think. Other than that, Kithera is what holds more promise, but it will take longer. Other than that, only a miracle.. then you can pray!!!

  154. Bruck says:

    FYI: Clin Exp Dermatol. 2015 Mar 18. doi: 10.1111/ced.12601.

    Potential synergistic effects of human placental extract and minoxidil on hair growth-promoting activity in C57BL/6J mice.
    Authors: Kwon TR1, Oh CT, Park HM, Han HJ, Ji HJ, Kim BJ.

    BACKGROUND: Human placenta extract (HPE) has been used to alleviate tiredness and promote wound healing, and for its antiageing functions; however, it has not yet been studied for its effects on hair growth. In the present study, we evaluated the in vitro effect of HPE on hair growth by observing its actions on human dermal papilla cells (DPCs).

    AIM: To define how HPE promotes induction of anagen hair growth during the telogen phase, and to understand the synergistic molecular mechanisms of HPE and minoxidil (MXD) actions on hair growth.

    RESULTS: We found that HPE synergistically augmented the effects of MXD, a promoter of hair growth. In particular, histomorphometric analysis data indicated that subcutaneous injection of HPE induced an earlier anagen phase and prolonged the anagen phase. It also stimulated increases in both the number and size of hair follicles in groups treated with HPE alone and HPE + MXD.

    CONCLUSIONS: From our data, we conclude that HPE increases β-catenin and Wnt3a expression levels. Overall, our findings suggest that HPE in combination with MXD has hair growth-promoting activity and is a potential novel therapeutic treatment for alopecia or baldness in humans.
    © 2015 British Association of Dermatologists.

  155. Joker says:

    LinkedIn says the guy quoted in this article, Bernat Olle, left the company’s board of directors (after eight years) in January 2015. That can’t be a good sign. Follica has laid off staff before, but now they don’t even have anyone running this company. I just wish they would have the heart to give us an update (i.e. what went wrong?) after all the support and media attention we’ve given PureTech for the past decade.

    • Aleluia says:

      This is the kind of thing that makes me sad…

      • McJ says:

        Wouldn’t get too down. Their CEO, William Ju, left and was quietly replaced by Neal Walker. Scott Kellogg is still VP and head of operations… But again, until they announce their doing something or they’ve folded, there’s really not much to tell. I seem to remember prior to fgf9, the talk of Follica being dead was rife.

        All you can do is hope for the best. That’s it. Kythera is likely something to watch out for but again, no one really knows just how effective that is yet.

        • julian says:

          Wouldnt get too down? This guy Bernat Olle was one of Follicas founders… this company is dead.

          • Vikki says:

            I’m not totally sure what this means, but Dr Olle is a chemical engineer by trade (I believe), and his doctoral work was on bioreactors (so he’s not a hair scientist or dermatologist, as far as I can tell). He also hasn’t left PureTech – he’s still involved there and is with Vedanta (another PureTech startup) now. I don’t think this necessarily means Follica is dead at all.

          • julian says:

            But why a guy who has been there since the beginning left the company? William Ju got out, now another head of the company… what this means? it can’t be a good sign…

          • Vikki says:

            Maybe because he’s needed elsewhere at another PureTech venture? Or maybe because he wanted to move. Not necessarily a bad sign.
            I’m speculating of course, but he may well hold stock in Follica, and maybe his work there in terms of establishing the company is done.
            Like I said, he’s not a hair scientist or dermatologist, he seems to mostly be involved in startup companies these days, and he didn’t leave PureTech….
            He’s also still listed on Follica’s website.

          • McJ says:

            Much like the lull in news from before fgf9, most people seem to want to write Follica off yet again. No one can really know what the heck they’re up to. They’ve lost people before and they refuse to talk about their RnD so people assume the worst. Maybe they’re done for or maybe they’re planning something big, who knows!?

            Hope for the best is all you can do.

          • Vikki says:

            Agree! None of us know what’s going on there..unless any of the posters here are secretly Follica employees ;-)
            Maybe I’m naively optimistic, but I can’t see why they would bother maintaining a website etc. if the company had ceased to be. My intuition is that they’re working on something big.

          • McJ says:

            Hope you’re right! Puretech are an odd company…they do advertise themselves as an RnD company now whereas before they were an odd hybrid of VC and kind of RnD.

            I would’ve thought that, especially after puretech got that cash injection, we’ll hear something Follica related this year. Good or bad, who knows but hopefully good!

    • julian says:

      Nobody can contact this guy and ask him? a friend who knows someone who knows him. There should be a way to talk to him… We gotta know what is going on with this company.

    • julian says:

      ow my gosh… rats again!! and a million years to START testing it in people… forget it!! it’s always the same BS.. it’ll never come.. fuck them!!

    • Vikki says:

      Every day, research is advancing. This WILL be solved, only a matter of time.

      • Aleluia says:

        Yes Vikki .
        It´s a little sad that nothing new is coming.
        But it ‘s good to see that a lot of research is being done

  156. McJ says:

    Likely most folks are sick of seeing further mouse studies but the recent plucking study is interesting,

    Certain terms do keep coming up – immune response, wounding/injury and wound healing. Would love to see what the plucking study would look like in a human study but there’s no doubt, given what Follica have already done, there’s something to this wounding/hair regeneration theory.

    Really hope Follica have something up their sleeves!

  157. McJ says:

    Again, nothing mind blowing here but a recent Cots presentation from March outlined here;

    Certainly on the wound-healing/Follica front, things are still active it would appear as well as a mention of pgd2 blocker potentially going into trials.

  158. Bruck says:

    Why does it take so long to get an actual clinical trial going? Often at least 2 years. Is it the high cost of doing the trial, or that new research data is coming in, or government regulation, or all of these issues?

    • julian says:

      Its 2 years since this fgf9 article was published. It was very promising as a stimulator to hair follicle regeneration.. but who knows if it has been tested.. That I cant understand too. A thing with such a potential should be trialed more rapidly… its everybodys interest.

  159. McJ says:

    Not to bang on about this but we may find out the fate of Follica before long or at the very least some sort of news this year. A quote from the WSJ:

    “PureTech seeks out and licenses academic research from around the world it believes can be used to develop disruptive technologies. It plans to use the proceeds of the IPO to move its most advanced portfolio companies towards commercialization”

    Follica, the website, has had a slight sprucing up. Very slight. So maybe worth keeping an eye on. Really depends on where Follica is at – which because they keep a tight lid on things, we don’t really know.

    • julian says:

      Only we don’t know IF Follica is one of their MOST ADVANCED PORTFOLIO COMPANIES, McJ… lets just hope… as always

    • Ryan says:

      Unfortunately, their most advanced portfolio companies, are all consumer & digital companies,

      It’s about 9 years since Dr Cotsarellis’s first mentioning of wounding for hair growth, and we’ve been on xconomy since 2008 waiting for developments, but 7 years on we’re really no further along. The idea of an increase in tecnological development in medicine is laughable when you see where we are at, there’s hardly any real breakthroughs happening, there’s endless amounts of hype, and publications of research that leads nowhere, But as for anything that people can actually use, we are still no nearer.

      • McJ says:

        No disagreements from me on most of that. I will say that Follica carries a certain degree of unknowability – for lack of a better word. To say we’re no further along, I wouldn’t agree with exactly. Follica says nothing so we really can’t say. Time will tell on this one. Sooner rather than later I think.

  160. julian says:

    what about Histogen? they had plans to launch their HSC in the US this year, 2015… remember? it’s still stated in their webpage. What went wrong? they seem to have forgotten that, what happened?

    And Replicel, joined with Shiseido and no more tell too.. All they talk about now, almost every day, is on their tendinosis thing, that interests nobody.. If Shiseido is not doing the trials then it’s all lost as well.

  161. Rogermexico says:

    This article is two years old today. Whole lot of nothing going on…

  162. julian says:

    this thing is endless..

  163. McJ says:

    Probably worthy of discussion – especially since CEO of Allergan mentions setipiprant;

    I do hope there is a secret race on to get the best possible product to market as soon as possible. Follica and Puretech are worth keeping an eye on this month with the puretech’s IPO on the London Stock Exchange.

    The allergan take-over is hopefully good news.

    • julian says:

      well McJ, that looks pretty good!!

    • julian says:

      It looks as they, Allergan, are primarily interested in Kythera’s treatment for double-chin.. but that could also hid their main interest, since they have tested bimatoprost as a hair loss remedy, and setipiprant could act together to enhance results, and maybe it’s that’s their goal.

  164. That’s will be good for people having patchy scalp problem. Folks don’t want to wait for hair growth that’s why they go for hair transplant and it’s very affordable in India. You can get Hair Transplant in India for the half cost you you pay in western countries.