New Fundraising for Hair-Raising: Follica Takes in $11 Million for Baldness-Treatment Approach
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hair follicles. Follica licensed that research and has since developed the work further and filed additional patents to protect the technology, the company has previously said.
As we described it back in January: “What’s so beautiful about the approach, [Zohar] says, is that translating it into a treatment for humans involves only devices and drugs that are already on the market. A doctor would first use a microdermabrasion tool, say, or a laser to remove the top layers of the skin—as is already commonly done in a number of dermatologic and cosmetic procedures—knocking some cells back into a primitive state. The doctor can then use this newly created therapeutic window to inject drugs that push the cells to develop along one pathway or another and grow hair or skin. Zohar won’t reveal what drugs Follica is using, except to say that they are small molecule drugs normally taken orally for purposes with no relation to hair growth.”
With the regulatory path relatively clear, Follica’s plan was to use its Series A money to quickly begin a small proof of concept study, involving 15 to 20 patients. Zohar yesterday confirmed that a pilot study is underway but wouldn’t confirm where or give any other details on its timing other than to tacitly stick to the timeline she laid out in January, when she said that final data from the study would not be available for at least a year. “Everything is progressing on track,” she now says. “We are moving as quickly as possible within the constraints of clinically driven medicine.”
Zohar also demurred when I asked about the reports in the reader comments on our story from January that the study only involves testing small patches of dermabrasion without administering any drugs to the wounds. In fact, she wouldn’t even confirm that the researchers were using dermabrasion to create the wounds in the first place. “At this point we are looking at the human response to disruption and the timing of the human ‘embryonic window’ post disruption,” she said. “Disruption,” she added, “is not necessarily the same as dermabrasion.”