Follica, the Biotech With Potential Drug Against Baldness, Nabs $7.5M Venture Financing
(Updated—6:15 pm ET, 6/01/10) Follica has raised more money for its quest against hair follicle disorders like male pattern baldness. The biotech startup, which is developing drugs that could spur the formation of new hair follicles, has raised $7.5 million in equity financing, according to an SEC filing.
Daphne Zohar, a Follica co-founder and managing director at PureTech Ventures in Boston, says the funding mentioned in the SEC filing is part of the startup’s Series B round of funding. The new cash came from Follica’s previous backers, which include PureTech, InterWest Partners, of Menlo Park, CA, and Waltham, MA-based Polaris Venture Partners. The Series B round was initially announced as an $11 million financing back in 2008, but Zohar says that was not the actual amount raised at the time and this latest infusion of capital brings the total round to $13 million. (Editor’s note: this paragraph was changed from the originally published version to include additional details from Zohar about the total amount raised in Follica’s second round of financing.)
“The investors are pleased,” Zohar said. “Things are going really well—it’s really exciting.”
Exactly how much progress Follica has made in developing a new hair-loss therapy, or whether baldness is the number-one target in its pipeline, Zohar wouldn’t say. The policy of the firm, she said, has been not to comment in detail on R&D activities. (Here’s an update on the firm’s status that Xconomy posted back in January.)
I did learn from Zohar that the company’s headquarters are now in Mendham, NJ, and have been since drug industry veteran William Ju took over as the firm’s CEO last year. Yet the firm continues to conduct drug-delivery and device research as well as corporate development in Boston, she said. Ju was not immediately available for comment this afternoon.
Unfortunately, this funding news doesn’t provide any new clues about whether Follica is much closer to bringing to market a treatment for baldness. Judging from the frenzy of interest in our previous Follica posts, it’s clear that many people are excited about the firm’s approach of generating new follicles to grow shoots of hair. Its technology, which is licensed from the University of Pennsylvania, could also be used to deliver permanent removal of unwanted hair.
If anything, we could hold out hope that more money for Follica means it has a greater chance of advancing its much-anticipated treatments for hair loss.