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isn’t just restricted to the vaginal region, though, Schwartz says. Skin thins throughout the entire body as it ages, causing bruising and greater fragility, so HYG-102 could be used throughout the entire body and also by men. “We don’t know what the market is for skin fragility, except that every elderly person has it,” Schwartz says. “It’s a normal consequence of aging.”
Therapeutic applications could extend further with the synthetic hormone blocking product, HYG-440, in Hygeia’s pipeline. The topical treatment, also built on technology licensed from Hochberg’s Yale lab, could help target acne, excess facial hair in women, and androgenic baldness, Schwartz says. That product isn’t as far along in development as HYG-102, but she says the firm is expecting some “pivotal proof of concept data” on it next month.
Hygeia was founded in 2007 and raised $1 million in Series A financing this past spring. The firms’ scientific advisory board includes Hochberg, and Elkan Gamzu, also the company chairman who has experience at biotechs such as Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Epix Pharmaceuticals, and Cambridge Neuroscience. Hygeia’s plans to “stay very lean as a nod to the economy,” Schwartz says. She and co-founder Craig Abolin, also a Sepracor alum, comprise Hygeia’s full-time team and focus on drug development. Medical, legal, and financial tasks at the firm are all contracted out.
The startup is exploring options for Series B investors, but has also received interest from bigger drug companies for partnership opportunities, Schwartz says. The dermatological market is promising, because of the greater ease of conducting clinical trials and the easily observed results, she says. “There’s a real need out there for dermatological products.”