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the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. However, Follica has received an uncommon amount of interest from the public compared with most biotech firms we’ve chronicled at Xconomy. It’s clear from the comments on our previous Follica story that the firm’s patent filed on lithium treatments has been a subject of discussion among people who are hoping for a new way to treat baldness.
Indeed, there’s been interest in Follica’s science for several years. Co-founder George Cotsarelis, a dermatologist at the University of Pennsylvania, generated some excitement with his research from mouse experiments that found that stem cells could be mobilized to regenerate the growth of hair follicles. Early this year, Cotsarelis and his colleagues made headlines with their study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that showed that hair follicle stem cells were present in scalp samples from bald men, even in areas where hair was sparse. Follica is aiming to harness adult stem cells to grow new hair, and the research confirmed that hair follicle stem cells are present in humans and could be mobilized, according to Ju.
Follica’s website describes a range of conditions that are considered hair follicle disorders, including androgenic alopecia (a common cause of hair-loss on the scalp), excessive hair, acne, and pigmentation disorders. The company has previously told us that they are developing a treatment for pattern baldness that stimulates the re-growth of hair follicles by harnessing a natural wound-healing pathway.
Ju said that his firm expects to reveal findings from its research in traditional forums such as medical meetings and academic journals, yet he declined to give a timeline for such presentations and articles. While it might be frustrating that the company hasn’t dished out many details about its science, give credit to the company for not giving into the temptation to generate hype about its research without the scientific data to justify it.
The company, backed by PureTech, Polaris Venture Partners, and InterWest Partners, has captivated an audience that appears to reach beyond typical biotech industry circles. But the company seems to be sticking to a rigorous scientific approach that is a must for biotechs that want to be credible in the eyes of investors and regulators like the FDA.
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