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Follica Sheds More Light on Hair Re-Growth Invention

Xconomy Boston — 

There’s been some buzz on the Web in recent weeks about Follica’s technology for treating one of the most common maladies of aging in men—male pattern baldness. The company, which got its start in offices of PureTech Ventures in Boston in 2006, sheds some light on its internal research in a patent application, published March 17, that involves the use of lithium treatments for stimulating growth of new hair.

But don’t get too worked up about this patent filing. William Ju, the president and CEO of Follica, told me that the recently published patent describes one of multiple areas of research underway at the company. He declined to say specifically at which stage of development the firm was in with the lithium treatment. The patent was filed on September 10, according to an online record, so it’s not really clear from the patent application where exactly this approach stands today in the company’s research and development pipeline.

The patent follows others that have detailed the use of separate compounds for use in treatments to generate new hair follicle growth, including one that included epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors. Though the company has said it’s doing human testing overseas, there’s no clear indication from the firm which approaches are showing the most promise in treating baldness or which ones are most advanced.

“We have a variety of programs, both pre-clinically and clinically, to investigate how we can get hair to grow,” Ju said in our recent interview. “This patent is one of the areas we are investigating, and for business reasons, I can’t get into too many of the details.”

In Ju’s defense, it’s not often that biotech startups are asked to comment on patent applications (like the one that covers lithium treatments) that have not been awarded by an authority such as … Next Page »

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  • Ryan

    I was just reading on HS some posts about a couple of articles that have been published in the UK saying Dr Cotsarelis is in talks with pharmaceutical companies about developing a topical based on his PGD2 research, and it should be available in 2 years.

    That could potentially be a very big deal if it’s true, if PGD2 is the culprit then all these companies will be blown out of the water before they even get a product out their, so Follica and all the others might have to get a move on if they want to make some money from their treatments.

  • washington

    “Cotsarelis – “Cure in two years.” look in hairsiteeee…

    • Artista

      what a nice thought–good one Wash’

    • Curious

      I find this all pretty hilarious. Isn’t Doc C with follica? What happened to that? Follica finally fold? On top of that… talking to pharmaceutical companies before any testing… isn’t that synonymous to counting your chickens before they hatch? Or did I miss something… are there tests out there? Either way what happened to Follica? Histogen? Aderans? etc. Have the doctors left the companies altogether and have started to come up with their own theories and solutions? On that note… it would be cool if they actually found what causes hair loss. I’m not saying that this is it but it seems to me if you can find the reason for the problem you can solve the problem… Seems like they are on the right path but they took a wrong turn (symbolism… yes!)

  • McJ

    ‘Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in!’ Still though all the same, pinch of salt.


    Newspapers (and people) love to exaggerate. Consume with caution.

    • so?

      Cotsarelis needs to learn how to avoid or better prepare for interviews. Making predictions of two years or stating anything beyond there is hope for the future is really going overboard. If he grafted human tissue onto a mouse or monkey and demonstrated PGD2 inhibition works that’s a promising start. A start, not a two year wrap up.

      • ZZ

        So? As we all know Cotsarelis has gotten hopes up in the past with tiemline predictions. Not sure what pharamceutical companies he is negotiating with but from a totally different source, unrelated to him, there was an Allergan earnings call where they suggested that Bimatoprost could be on the market for hair loss as early as 2014. I might be able to find the link if you are interested. I’m not making any predictions about how effective a PGD2 inhibitor might be for hair loss but I do think it will be relatively quick to market b/c some of these have already been approved for other uses (i.e Latisse). So I believe there is realistic cause for a fast track here. Especially if PGD2 Inhibitors turn out to be anything like what this small JAAD study showed. http://www.bernsteinmedical.com/hairtransplantblog/study-latanoprost-might-be-a-viable-hair-loss-medication/

        • so?

          It’s interesting but almost like saying a new chemo drug for cancer is a cure. Maybe some people with 10-20% early stage hairloss will have a positive effect, but they would with minoxidil too….
          This is the part that is bothersome:

          “When the original study was published in the journal Science Translational
          Medicine in March, he said: “We really do think if you remove the
          inhibition [caused by PGD2}, you get longer hair.”

          He said the finding raised the possibility of not only stopping hair loss, but
          of bald men also being able to regrow full heads of hair.”
          We really do think is the direct quote and that ticks me off. He shouldn’t be doing interviews at such an early stage but I understand he published a paper. The issue winds up being the hype generated by the medical journalists.

          Did Cotsarelis say men could regrow full heads of hair? No idea, it’s not a direct quote. I find it shocking he’d open his mouth at all after all the negativity towards Follica for not revealing results (not method, not technology, the final results) at a reputable science conference.

    • Artista

      McJ -welcome back brother..The pinch of salt is a good idea. Ill say this though , there is a momentum building on this ‘treatment’ just as there was for Minoxidil . Its getting a bit exciting

      • McJ

        Yeah, here’s hoping that momentum builds to something good! Cautiously optimistic.

        Still, it would be good to know exactly what this new treatment could potentially do and what its limits are. Ideally, it would be great if some journalist could cover this and the whole hair race properly… Histogen, Follica etc.

        The whole ‘two year’ thing needs to be scrutinized properly too. Journos love a good headline at the expense of facts sometimes.

  • Shooter

    Hi guys, I called Aderans a few days ago in FL and another poster called Aderans today in AZ. The recruiting coordinators in both sites verified that they are bringing in participants for Phase 3. Apparently they might have to extend their trials for a few more years because of the FDA (wtf???), but the results so far are positive. I’m not surprised that the government would try to slow this whole thing down, but Phase 3 is a huge step that the hairloss community has never encountered before.

  • McJ

    Hey Xconomy, what gives with the missing comments from me and Artista from yesterday? Anyway, it would be good to hear from Vikki, Z79 or Ryan to see if they have an opinion on this one.

  • McJ

    And Shooter too of course… It’s interesting that the news hasn’t done the rounds on other news outlets. Perhaps they’re all burned out with these types of stories. C’mon Xconomy – do a little feature on this and see what you can dig up. Pretty please.

  • Froggy

    Official: In June 2012 Aderans declared another phase 2 trial at the FDA (complation date: April 2013).

    The thing is that this new trial seems to be EXACTLY the same (method and version of Ji-Gami) than another trial from july 2011 to february 2013.
    Is it a good news?
    Did they find something that worth to extend their biggest trail (originally with 100 PATIENTS) for 2 month with 40 more patients?
    Or is it a bad news?

  • Shooter

    Not sure about this new Phase 2 trial, but moving to Phase 3 is definitely a good sign. I would think that this new Phase 2 is a modification of the previous version of Ji Gami; perhaps frontal baldness, perhaps with treatments like Minoxidil and Propecia, etc. The latest press release states that Aderans is continuing to test a lot of different therapies coming down the pipeline, so hopefully this is a positive thing.

  • Curious

    Only phase 2…. unless you have better info than this site:

    • Shooter

      Yes, they explicitly said Phase 3 during my phone conversation. Yes, my info (from one of the recruiting director for the actual trial itself) is probably markedly better than a website that has scarcely been updated in the past four years.

      • curious

        Thanks… was holding my breath for about 15 days on that one.

  • herzog

    Hey guys,
    Here’s my breakdown of the current situation. Am I missing anything?

    Initial results of phase I/II reported in May 2012 with 46% regrowth. No clue when trials are finished or when to expect a report.

    REPLICEL (TS001)
    Safety is cleared after successful phase I. Phase IIb starts in late 2012 to test dosing and concentration. Maybe hear back in late 2013 when it pushes to Phase 3.

    A SECOND phase 2 trial announced in July 2012. Completion date is April 2013.

    Currently backed by Cotsarelis prostaglandin discovery. Initial product on shelves 9/12. Efficacy in question.

    • Lurker

      I think you got it. My question – and please anyone report back with info, is how do we order L’Oreal’s product?

      • herzog

        It’s called Neogenic. It will be out in September in Europe. Google is your friend.

  • curious

    @Shooter did the explicitly say phase 3 or did they just say they were recruiting and you assumed it was phase 3?

  • Vikki

    Not at all my area of science, but I have some thoughts on the PGD2 stuff.
    Suspending disbelief for a moment…
    Is it possible, I wonder, that the cause of MPB is actually far simpler than has been previously imagined? Think about it – IF it really is down to excess PGD2, and IF it’s pretty straightforward to inhibit PGD2, then MIGHT it be the case that it’s actually quite easy to fix hair loss?
    It would shed new light on the personnel departures from Follica, i.e. Dr Cotsarelis discovers that it’s actually rather easy to reverse baldness using existing medications, and so Follica begins to wind its operations down.
    I can almost imagine the conversation..”Umm, guys, I don’t know how to tell you this…but we’ve wasted a ton on time and money on this wounding stuff, it turns out we can fix baldness really easily – sorry, none of you have jobs any more.”
    It’s possible. Probably not the case, but possible.
    It’s also possible that, having found this apparent cause of hairloss, the only thing stopping a treatment from hitting the shelves is that the parties involved are trying to find a way to secure patents etc. on existing medications being used in a new way, and thereby profit from the discovery – probably not an easy thing to do. The last thing pharmaceutical companies would want is that a very cheap and effective fix becomes available overnight.
    If, and it’s a big IF, it’s possible to inhibit PGD2 and make hair grow with a topical cream or such like based upon already-available meds, then the challenge for the companies involved is to ensure they can profit from this. If it’s actually *really* simple to fix baldness in this way, it might mean that it’s both cheap AND simple to do, and bypasses a lot of the companies who’ve been working on this issue.
    All just purely hypothetical, and conjecture…but I feel quite optimistic about this. Knowledge is increasing exponentially and it might be that a genuine cure is getting VERY close. Wouldn’t it be awesome if it turned out to be incredibly simple, and left us all slapping our foreheads (metaphorically, of course), asking, “why didn’t we figure this out sooner?”

    • Mr. Z

      What departures from Follica are you referring to?

      • McJ

        Stephen Prouty and Shikha P. Barman left this year along with a couple of other researchers I believe who aren’t listed on the Follica website.

        • Mr. Z

          Thanks for the information – though, it doesn’t sound too good. Especially if you consider that no replacements have been announced. Sounds like they’re dead in the water.

          It’s odd that they’re still listed on Follica’s website as part of the company.

          • McJ

            Can’t say I’m wholly optimistic about that either Mr. Z but as I was debating with Shooter a few posts down (Vikki weighed in also), I don’t necessarily think they’re dead either.

            People do leave companies all the time for many different reasons but in light of the whole PDG2 thing, I have to wonder where exactly Follica stand.

  • Artista

    To all of my Xconomy friends..Its getting a little bit~~~~EXCITING now, isn’t it?
    I like Vikki’s comment,,
    “… wonder, that the cause of MPB is actually far simpler than has been
    previously imagined? Think about it – IF it really is down to excess

    That may be a fact,we will know in time.

  • Ryan

    I believe one of the Dr’s involved in the PGD2 study with Cotsarelis now works for Merck. You would hope this study has been mentioned there, getting a topical treatment based on those findings would be huge financially, obviously it would have to be a revolutionary treatment.

  • McJ

    Fav comment ever Vikki on these Xconomy pages. It would ace if just some of that came true.

    Still, very early days but there’s no doubt the science (and science in general) is moving very fast. My own feeling is that we will hear something from Follica before the end of the year. Good or bad, I’m not sure. Good I hope.

    I’d temper the enthusiasms (where’s my baseball bat?) just a tiny bit until some actual proper reporting is done. So far, there hasn’t really been any of that with regards to the whole PGD2 thing. It’s good to hope that it really is that simple but some science journalists need to do some actual reporting now. Time has come journo guys, seriously!

  • Boston

    A patent covering this approach was patented by Cotsarelis in 2007.


  • McJ

    Oh, one last bit of interesting news for the day and at long last one journalist points out the bleeding obvious;


    The only difference between now and 5 years ago is that Cotsarelis seems to be going directly to the established pharma companies. But I still have quite a few reservations about the whole ‘2 year’ thing. Where did that number come from?

    Bravo to John Carroll and Fierce Biotech though for pointing out what no other journalist has up until this point – Follica – what the heck is up? Be cautious about all this news on PGD2 until we know more. Much more.

    • ZZ

      McJ, Not sure where the latest “2 year” timeline came from but back in August of 2011 in a CBS news article regarding an August 2011 Allergan earnings call ( http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-42849516/allergans-potential-baldness-cure-clears-one-hurdle-heads-for-the-hard-part/), they say ”
      If Latisse enters Phase III late next year (2012), then the very earliest date for approval of a new drug for baldness would be 2013 or 2014. Allergan’s stock, meanwhile, is already pricing in the potential: When the company first mentioned the product, AGN was at $54.80. It was at $63.72 this time last year when it gave another update. Now, despite the market turmoil, AGN is at $72.91 at the time of writing.” No way for 2013 in my opinion and 2014 is a reach but possible b/c of prior FDA approval for another purpose. I think obviously that Cotsarelis is going directly to Pharma this time b/c little to no pre-clinical research is needed. Pharma already has PGD2 inhibitors in the clinical research pipeline or previously approved for other purposes.

      • Artista

        Two very interesting points made
        “… prior FDA approval for another purpose”
        “…little to no pre-clinical research is needed”
        Cotsarelis is on to something. Cautious optimism is a good thing to have at this juncture .

      • McJ

        Interesting. I assume Allergan would be in competition with Cotsarelis’s product then no? Still though, I’d love to see some hard data or facts about how effective it’s gonna be. I’m optimistic but I’d really like to see someone get some more solid info before I get my hopes up.

        • ZZ

          McJ, I agree that this will likely be in competition with anything that Costarelis is involved with given the foundation that Allergan already has with Latisse and how far along they are with their clinical trial. Cotsarelis research findings certainly give strength to the logic as to why Latisse works on eyelashes and to how it might similarly work on hair. So it sounds very promising as far as a next generation treatment (and hopefully more) but obviously only time will tell. We should have a very good clue if Allergan begins Phase III which could happen by the end of 2012 given this statement by Allergan at the earnings call last year:
          “So we will probably have some of the Phase I data at R&D Day. But it’s really the Phase II data that will be proof of concept. That depending on enrollment and feedback probably won’t be available till end of sort of, I’d say, latter part of next year (2012). Clearly, we’ll be monitoring this and as we start getting any positive feedback, we’ll gear up, so that once we get the proof of concept data, we could go to Phase III right away.”Based on this, if the results were positive, they have almost certainly been gearing up for some time now for Phase III. Given that there are 10 companies with PGD2 inhibitors in trials or with approval for other purposes (at last count), may guess is that Allergan would avoid publicly disclosing anything for as long as possible to avoid fanning the flames of motivation for their competitors. And I would think there would be a mad rush to be first to market. A few other key facts: Latisse/Lumigen comes in a maximum strength of .03%. Phase II is testing in 3 strengths and they are also testing against 5% minoxidil for comparative purposes. They have not disclosed the test strengths but even a 1% solution would be 33 times stronger than Latisse. Not necessarily related but Allergan’s stock price is now $85….compare to the ascent of the stock price in post above.Keep your fingers crossed….nothing yet on clinicaltrials.gov as of yet.

  • Artista

    I just read this at one of the hair loss forums~
    “TERMIS World Congress
    September 5 – 8, 2012
    Vienna, Austria
    Dr. Jonathan Mansbridge to present “Stimulation of hair growth in humans by cell-secreted proteins”
    International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) Annual Meeting

    October 17 – 20, 2012
    Dr. Gail Naughton to present “Scalp Injection of active embryonic-like cell-secreted proteins and growth factors”
    Life Sciences Summit

    October 31 – November 1, 2012
    New York, NY
    Dr. Gail Naughton will speak as a Key Opinion Leader as part of the Regenerative Medicine Program

    some nice info coming up in the next few months”
    My friends, Its VERY obvious now that the RACE IS ON!! Has anyone noticed that the percentage of people who state EMPHATICALLY that “there wont be a cure for 10-20 years” has considerably dropped ?

  • McJ

    I tried posting this yesterday but my comment got eaten;


    I vaguely remember this article but does anyone know if there were any follow ups to this story? I can’t seem to find any. It certainly sounded like a promising avenue and not just for hair.

    As a side note, do you think the Xconomy overlords still read this page? It’s just I’m wondering if they keep asking Follica or Daphne Zohar for an update.

    • so?

      It’s an interesting find, but as translational medicine it has a ways to go. These experiments were done only in rat and I don’t know that there is even circumstantial evidence to point to the same thing happening with human cells.
      Many, many promising stem cells to play with. Unfortunately, it would be a long shot to get funding for even autologous stem cell therapy.

      • McJ

        That’s a bummer then.

  • Ryan

    Someone on HLH has found a company that can supply them with OC000459, which seems to be one of the best PGD2 antagonists that are currently in development, I’m not sure what dosage they intend on using, or the vehicle they will use to apply it, but there seems to be a few people who will be getting it, so we should know soon enough if it’s something worth pursuing as a home treatment.

    • Sweden

      Very interesting! In what density will it be in?

    • Paulo

      Ryan, I’am Paulo…From Brazil…
      which can say more about this?…

  • I finally took the time to download the paper:
    randomized double-blind placebo-controlled pilot
    study to assess the efficacy of a 24-week topical
    treatment by latanoprost 0.1% on hair growth

    It’s interesting but
    1. 50% of test subjects (12) had no response. that’s with daily treatment for 24 weeks. that’s based on two spots (one test, one placebo) where drops were applied daily. something like 4-5 weeks undersupervision and then the rest of the time on their own in good faith. the 50% saw a response, for most it took at least 16 weeks to see a difference.

    2. the areas tested were non-balding areas.. or at least in the individual singled out it was clear they picked the areas of his scalp where hair was thick

    3. bothersome that the P value was excellent for the lanataprost – .001-.004 vs the placebo (.7-.9). not horrifying, but instead of comparing a treated apple to an apple you’re comparing a drug treated apple to a smashed up non-treated apple. as is commonly known, 0.05 is generally considered an acceptable cutoff for P-value. i guess the journal has lower standards
    in the end, the latanoprost is technically getting compared not to the placebo directly, only indirectly. the latanoprost is getting compared to the site of treatment.

    so take home message is the work is interesting but with lousy data at the untreated site, don’t make too much of it. it could go either way, better data at placebo site could show that people generally lost hair, so latanoprost would indirectly seem more impressive. or, better data might show that overall trend in those area was a slight net gain, making latanaprost seem less interesting.

    • herzog

      What is this for? Neogenic?

      • No a PGD2 inhibitor. PGD2 –> prostaglandin

        • herzog

          Yeah just wondering whose research. Is this Cotsarelis’ paper or Latisse or somebody else?

          • Google –
            randomized double-blind placebo-controlled pilot
            study to assess the efficacy of a 24-week topical
            treatment by latanoprost 0.1% on hair growth

            Some group in Europe. The paper was mentioned on here but nobody mentioned looking at the details.

  • Ryan

    I’m having real problems following any discussion with this new format, the post count seems to increase, but I can’t find the posts that are responsible. Is this just me that’s having the problem?

    • McJ

      Nah, the new system is a bit annoying it has to be said. Not that there’s a whole lot going on at the minute.

      Nobody has actually heard anything of substance with regard to the PGD2 thing and Cotsarelis apparently saying ‘two years’ until it might be available. Some idiotic Daily Mail reporter just shooting her mouth off looking for a headline. Other outlets just reported the same story basically. Unless you actually hear it from the horse’s mouth, I’d take it all with a pinch of salt.

      All the same, I’m astounded only John Carroll of Fierce Biotech pointed out the whole Follica angle with regards to Cotsarelis’s latest findings. Surprised Xconomy hasn’t picked up on this. .

  • Froggy

    No Ryan you are not alone.
    This new format is hum…. very…. You know what I mean !
    The old one was much better.

  • Ryan

    disappointed, latanoprost isn’t a PGD2 inhibitor.

    • latanoprost is a prostaglandin inhibitor.

      • Ryan

        I don’t think it is, it’s a Prostaglandin analogue, I think it increases or normalises certain Prostaglandins, like Cotsarelis believes Minox does as well with PGE2. That’s why latanoprost is used for lengthening eye lashes, it increases the
        Prostaglandin that helps hair grow, it doesn’t inhibit any.

        • ILotanoprost is a prostaglandin analog. It’s in the primary publication that I downloaded – I think zz originally was linking the paper on here. PDG2 is a lipid and latanoprost is an analog. DO they both compete for the GPR44 receptor I am not 100% sure, but it’s one analog that’s been published for many years.

          The whole point was that ZZ referred to the paper so I downloaded it and latanoprost in that one study wasn’t so impressive. I want there to be some strong and useful drug out there just as much as anyone. An inhibitor may help but I think that Cotsarelis paper (which apparently is now biblical) leaves much to be desired.

    • McJ

      Ah, so it’s vitamin D!

      Any news on Histogen apart from some speaking engagements by Gail Naughton? Did anything come out of that Termis World Congress thing recently?
      Still highly impressed that they actually released pictures with that pdf last time.

  • lurker
    • McJ

      Good find. Well written article too. None of that hyperbole that’s been coming out recently. I wonder do any of these recent findings (PGD2 included) impact the likes of Histogen and Follica (assuming they’re still active).

      Companies seem seem to be waking up to the fact now more than ever that there’s billions to be made here. A good thing.

  • McJ

    So yeah, any news on Histogen from that conference in Vienna?

  • Froggy

    Ryan you are not alone.
    This new format is not comfortable to read.
    The old format was better.
    I hope that this time my post will not be deleted.

  • Froggy

    Ryan you are right this new format is not easy to read.
    This is my third post the previous were deleted.
    Hope that it will not be the same this time.

  • Anyone have an opinion on Avodart vs Propcia? I get it is not the topic of the thread but just curious. I remember taking Avodart after a lot of research in 2002/3 and it kept my hair static and then I didn’t care, since then just let my hair thin out slowly

    • herzog

      It is the same thing, just higher concentrations in Avodart. Both have been proven to have long term effects on your boner. Check the swedish class action lawsuit. If you REALLY want to do some damage, take dutasteride.

      • Isn’t Avodart the compound dutasteride? Propecia I remember is Finasteride.

        • herzog

          Yes you’re right. I was thinking of Proscar.
          I actually have taken both Dutas and Fin. Dutas worked great after about three months but then seriously killed my libido. Much worse than fin did.

          • Sorry to hear that, I certainly don’t want to play with fire. Just at a point where I’d be happy to halt progress of hair loss a year or two. So I guess there’s not many other choices out there, not as a cure but to halt loss?

          • Sorry to hear that, I certainly don’t want to play with fire. Just at a point where I’d be happy to halt progress of hair loss a year or two. So I guess there’s not many other choices out there, not as a cure but to halt loss?

          • herzog

            I currently use Minoxidil mixed with RU58841. A lot of guys are mixing their own RU and applying with really good results as far as simply maintaining. Myself included. http://www.hairlosstalk.com/interact/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=63049&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

          • Thanks for the linking. I’ve seen RU58841 before but don’t know the story behind it. If RU alone works with no side effects I guess an option…. where do yo u get yours?

          • herzog

            Ontario Chemical, Inc.
            I mix 300g into a bottle of 1/2 rogaine and 1/2 everclear alcohol. 1 dropper full in the morning gives me 100mg a day on my head. Bob’s yer uncle. Check hairlosstalk forums for the details. Only thing I’ve found that seems to work solidly with at least a bit of actual science behind it. Hoping it maintains my hair for 2 years as well. I figure we’ll hear from histogen, aderans or cotsarelis by that time, for better or for worse.

  • julian

    where’s Neogenic? If it really can wake up weak follicles and make them produce strong hair again that alone would be fantastic!!

  • Ryan

    Cotsarelis has released this statement on the UPENN website about PGD2

    “Some media outlets have inaccurately reported that a drug may be available in two years. To clarify, if everything goes well, a treatment could start being tested in clinical trials within 2 years. The time to market, were the clinical trial successful, is more difficult to predict, but could be several more years after that pending FDA approval.”

    So another possible treatment falls into the 5 year timeframe, Follica is coming up for 5 years since their big story in the media and we’re still none the wiser, so don’t count on anything coming from the PGD2 stuff either.

    • I’d even hold off on getting too excited about PGD2. Until they knock it out artificially in some model like monkeys with siRNA, peptide blocker, etc. and show growth occurs then it’ll be one more promising sounding therapy that crashes. It really is ego when these guys make statements they know will get blown out of proportion. If Cots said he’d set milestones for one year from today and then publicly report on on progress he’d get a lot more respect. But whatever, these science reporters just ‘discovered’ that 98% of DNA isn’t so-called Junk DNA, and that’s been known for 20+ years.

  • McJ

    The whole PGD2 thing is a perfect example of terrible, headline grabbing reporting. The 2 year timeline was a fantasy. I agree with ‘disappointed’ about what Cots should have done as that would have been much better, however, I reckon there is more to it than that.

    Perhaps Cots has ulterior motives for releasing this news now? Could have something to do with Follica and their progress or lack thereof? Maybe? Who knows.

    Do you have the link Ryan for that press release?

    • Ryan
      • McJ

        Thanks Ryan.Yeah, sort of glad that was clarified like that, They were obviously inundated with requests and questions.

        • Unfortunately, there’s nothing too mysterious about these interviews. I was talking to the head of a major university dept recently about interviews that got out of hand. Sometimes these professors love to talk. I remember working for one guy (almost 20 years ago now) who was interviewed for the OJ Simpson trial – he was NOT happy with what the local news dept ultimately aired.
          You just have to keep in mind that you could fill a 300 page book with scientific musings, extrapolations, etc. by Cots or anyone else. To make the leap from casual talk to product is always done, it’s dangerous, and often leads to crash and burn.

          As much as I hate to mention it, the best thing is to go back to what Cots PGD2 paper but do the same, simple project with better tech. It’s garbage in and garbage out, to say that only one protein is available to target in hair loss is probably a stretch. Maybe because of budgetary reasons (I don’t know why) but Cots used tech. that’s the equivalent of a paper airplane vs newer tech which is like a jet airplane.

  • Ken Washenik

    There wont be a cure for 10-20 years.

    • If you’re talking a cure, and that’s no small thing, then yes easily > 10-15 years.

  • McJ

    I know a lot of folks do occasionally get down about all this stuff and it doesn’t help when people exploit the press for their own purposes or when reporters just get stuff wrong but seriously, science is moving fast. Maybe not fast enough for some but still, what’s around the corner is pretty extraordinary;


    The hair thing, though less important in comparison to some of the stuff in the above article, won’t be as long as 10 years I don’t think.

    Too much money to be made in it. Not sure what a ‘cure’ really means myself… but if you can get your hair back fully, even if it falls out again for the same reasons it did the first time, I think most people would take that.

    • A lot of these reagents and technologies have been in development have for many years. But of course there is reason for optimism. It takes someone to get the ball rolling. Once one company, any company, has a partial success and releases a product it changes everything. Also, limiting scientists by stating a strong therapy has to take on the form of x and y is not worth it. An engineer with no biology background could design a robot to conduct a HT from start to finish with ultra fine and rapid placement.

  • Curious

    I think too many of us want a cure that we are willing to ride the emotional roller coaster that the media, blogs and just some random guy on the corner throw at us.
    In the grand scheme of things I both want some time of cure or treatment to come as soon as possible but on the other I’m willing to wait a couple of years, even watch some of my hair go while I’m at it, to see something of real evidence pop up.

    My overall sense of forums like these is that:
    1. People get upset when there is no news and write it off as a company is failing. I’ll admit that most of these companies out here will probably eventually fail but at the same time the will (very important) add to the collective knowledge behind the research ie. We will gain both information of what they found to either be effective, mildly effective or ineffective – in any case it is valuable information. Beyond that, as many people have said before, silence is not necessarily failure. If the company is still in trials and has not released information yet it is because they are still in trials. If they have been out of trials for years and there has been no information released well you can be skeptical at that point. Slow and deliberate is going to win this race guys.

    2. Miracle cures and the Media get people really razzed on here. I’m not sure why other than wanting some last ditch effort to save those valuable threads on the top of your head. Let’s just look at it like this… “if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is”. We all know the timeline it takes to get passed the FDA and that’s not going to change. We also know that this problem isn’t as simple as finding the square peg to put through the square hole. Those two things combined should tell you that some two bit news story that came out yesterday about the miracle cure being available in 2 years (I’m looking at you PGD2) isn’t really a miracle cure that is going to be available in 2 years. Come on, we all knew that something was off and really… anything that hasn’t been tested (and been tested to work better than Minox) isn’t really worth our time for the obvious reasons.

    3. Every now and then one of us has some really awesome news to share which is awesome. On the other hand news you got on an internet forum needs to be followed up with some kind of facts or other information to confirm it, otherwise there is no reason to get too excited about it. I’m going to give an example here, A couple of weeks ago @da40a7c7836ae26ab37b0c9463144c19:disqus posted that he spoke with Aderans about them being in Phase 3 trials. To be honest I like Shooter a lot, he is friendly, sincere, hopeful and knowledgeable. But even though he responded to my question if they said they were explicitly in Phase 3 trials this website page: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01669746?term=aderans&rank=1 (which he said hasn’t been updated for years) says that on Aug 17th they started another Phase 2 trial, which I am still excited about just less than Phase 3. There are many reasons why Shooter could have bad information but the fact is I focus on the “good or trustworthy” information I can get which says they are in Phase 2.

    4.This plays off 3 but we need to stop our doomsday machines. I’m the least excited about going bald as anyone and have had problems at times excepting it but… in the grand scheme of things we need to move passed it if it does happen. With that said I do think we are in a special point in time with so much research happening right before our eyes. The fact is that there is hope on the horizon and that most likely we will see a better treatment if not cure before we lose it all. Right now is the time to live your life though and it’s not because you are going to be bald, it’s because right now life is living you. Do what you gotta do to live life as you bald: wear a hat, grow your hair long, buzz it off… whichever makes you happier. My girlfriend wants me to buzz her hair off in a couple of weeks because she doesn’t like her hair in her face at work, go figure. It made me laugh. My friend who is much farther in the balding process recently buzzed it off and looks much better and got his confidence back. I’m truly happy for him.
    Do what you have to do for now but looking at the facts, right now we have many companies in Phase 2 trials and more to come. I think our future looks hopeful and hairy… imagine if you can buzz your hair for a couple of years only to grow it back better, how awesome would that be.

    ps. Does anyone else always enter a false email just to post… I really think that should be an option instead of mandatory. Sorry to whoever is at: cheras1231@akajgkhjagh.com LOL

    • McJ

      Well said sir. I’ve said it before but I really will try to limit how many times I come here and scour the web for some sort of news or info. It’s been said so many times before but this ‘thing’ – be it cure or new treatment – won’t be here tomorrow. But it will be here soon.

      And to be honest, I enjoy speculation (especially the optimistic stuff) a little bit but it doesn’t get us anywhere really. It’s just a bunch of guys (and gals) guessing.

  • Ryan

    I was hoping there might be some significance to the PGD2 finding because of the affect it had on the mice they were using, which was similar to what happens in humans with MPB.

    “we describe a mouse model (K14-Ptgs2) with elevated PGD2 levels in the skin that phenocopies human AGA . These results implicate PGD2 in the pathogenesis of AGA and suggest new receptor targets for its treatment.

    Furthermore, we find that a transgenic mouse, K14-Ptgs2, which targets prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 expression to the skin, demonstrates elevated levels of PGD2 in the skin and develops alopecia, follicular miniaturization, and sebaceous gland hyperplasia, which are all hallmarks of human AGA. These results define PGD2 as an inhibitor of hair growth in AGA and suggest the PGD2-GPR44 pathway as a potential target for treatment. “

    • Yes, there is significance and there’s a reason Cots. followed up on that protein vs any other in his ‘hit list’ of differentially expressed proteins in androgenetic alopecia. But it’s very big stretch to say that inhibitors of the receptor targeted by the lipid PGD2 will reverse male pattern baldness. Cots didn’t even publish whether in their human culture model of their K14 mice that one of the many inhibitors out there would reverse the phenotype. Basically, they were able to enzymatically produce a lot of the PGD2 lipid and cause bad things to happen to hair growth but show no signs of reversal.

      It’s interesting, but I wouldn’t take more from it than that. They really don’t know the mechanism so anything is a guess at best. Really surprised some preliminary works wasn’t done ot reverse the phenotype in mice but that could be in the works.

      I’m hoping the PGD2 story will be one of many up and coming interesting leads that exist or should exist. The tech used to identify high PGD2 levels is out-of-date that I’m optmistic that better tech will give us some much more druggable/target ready options.

  • zxvc

    Latest sign of life from Follica 16.03.2012: http://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/detail.jsf?docId=WO2012125941

    Not sure what to say about this, frankly. If they really were into something as far as HF neogenesis goes, it’s perplexing why they would be wasting time on researching treatments for microbial infections.

    • Lurker

      I think this is a very good sign. Basically – they are alive. I would assume this has to do with their trials. Maybe they are finding that their treatment takes care of scars (from HTs)?

      • zxvc

        I like your optimism Lurker :) And you’re right, the patent also relates to scar removal. It could be that they are just finalizing their patent portfolio and that this was the last (/least valuable) discovery to protect, which also would explain the R&D departures discussed earlier.

        Let’s hope they start developing something for the market next. They have included some device schematics in some of their patents, so who knows, maybe they will have a marketable product sooner than we think.

    • McJ

      Ah, the Follica saga goes on. I really do wonder if they’ll up and surprise folks with an announcement out of the blue. They’d put a lot of folks at ease with an official update at the very least.

  • lurker

    Unrelated to Follica, but something I’ve been wondering and wanted to voice out loud to see what folks here think.
    a while, I’ve been fearful of Propecia. A while back (3 or 4 years) I
    thought about it hard – enough to talk to the Doctor about it. The
    Doctor talked me out of it. In retrospect, I wish I went on it. But,
    girl was pregnant, I didn’t want to risk anything there – Doc said wait
    and prescribed me with a few things that were unrelated to hairloss
    because I was also having allergy problems (she gave me Allegra and
    Nasocort perscriptions – which I started immediately). So, afterwards, I
    went home and was posting on here. A guy named “R” was real into
    “natural alternatives” at the time. I figured why not give these a shot
    until my son/daughter was born, then maybe try Propecia. So, I tried Saw
    Palmetto and Soy Isoflavones. So, anyway, while on Saw Pelmetto (which
    I took for max 2 months total), I also tried Soy Isoflavones for I’d
    say off and on – maybe a handful of times. I was also on Allegra and
    Nasocort, mind you. At this time I noticed a few things. First, my hair
    was thickening big time. Second, it was growing faster and there was
    more. I don’t have pictures. I also was developing pain in my chest with
    a tiny lump. Within two months, I went back to the Doc and she
    confirmed I had a bit of gyno. I quit Saw Palmetto immediately. I never
    really took much Isoflavones, so I tossed the bottle. I swore off both
    and told myself Propecia wasn’t worth it either – I wouldn’t try it. After a while (like 6 months) the gyno pretty much dissipated.

    For years I thought my problem stemmed from Saw Palmetto and maybe the couple of times I tried the Soy Isoflavones. Until recently. After reading about Cots new findings and because I was in the middle of a problem season for allergies – I bought myself some more Allegra. This time, I slowly started it. Recently I added it full and thus far have not experienced sides.

    There’s no doubt that my hair isn’t thickening like it did last time, but to me – it does appear to make a difference. My marker is my own look, feeling what I see on my hands, etc.

    Another point of interest – after I gave up Saw Palmetto and the allergy meds, when I would eat something spicy my head where hair was balding would itch – bad. I always thought this was weird. Now that I’m on allergy meds again, it doesn’t itch when I eat something spicy. To me – this is signs that something is going on.

    Bottom line – I think this inflammation aspect is real. I also think that it can act through the same mechanism as DHT – see above story – so much so that it can be too much if you try to use both (gyno).

    I figured it was worth bringing up to see if anyone else had thoughts/comments or wants to laugh at my theory.

    • curious

      What was the point of the story, I get a little lost at the end. Allergy medicine and Saw Palmetto works just too many sides? I remember trying Saw Palmetto and I felt like my libido was way down but then again at the time I was with a girlfriend that I was breaking up with (circumstantial?)

      • lurker

        The point of the story was just to share since absolutely nothing new is breaking here. I know it had nothing/little to do with Follica. My theory is inflammation is a serious problem that leads to baldness. I also think the itch one sometimes feels is related to inflammation. I believe there are a wide variety of anti-histamines and various allergy meds that can’t help with inflammation. Dr. Cots recent findings suggest a possible role for inflammation as well – in that he’s saying certain allergy drugs could inhibit PGD2. I’m not even going to that level because I’m not sure Allegra or Nasocort do that – exactly. What I am sure of – is they inhibit inflammation.

        The rest of my story had to do with DHT. Inhibitors for DHT, like saw palmetto and soy isoflavones (and propecia) may work up or downstream from the inflammation. They may be connected to the inflammation associated with MPB too. Further, if you inhibit too many aspects at once it can lead to problems. I also had some issues with libido with Saw Palmetto use (another point of this post was to say be careful with what you intake into your body – even if it’s “natural”.)

        The point was also to see if anyone had any thoughts on this area of thought (allergy meds as anti-inflammatories) or if they thought it was rubbish. I’m fine with parts of it being rubbish.

        But, I know for certain allergy meds must at least do something to male pattern baldness itch. Which is interesting. I also believe they do something in general to hair quality. And this may not even be the correct form of allergy meds.

  • Mr. Z

    Damn it Follica, say something! Anything! Tell us you’re phase II is stuck on efficacy, tell us your results sucked, tell us you’re quitting the hair game altogether. Or maybe give us some good news. But, for the love of god, say SOMETHING! It’s going on 4-5 yrs now, almost over 3 yrs since last word from you.

    Found this positive review from a former employee. It was written this year

    • McJ

      Agreed! It won’t silence the naysayers but that’s an interesting find Mr Z. Don’t get the impression they’re about to shut up shop anytime soon. Further layers to the mystery I guess. I’m getting tired of all the mystery. It’s just not any fun.

      To be fair though if there is an end result that’s positive, I can put up with a bit more mystery.

      • disappointed

        They may crash and burn (common) or do very well (rare) but the employee review generally doesn’t mean a whole lot.

        senior RA who wrote that review was positive, but people leave
        companies for a variety of reasons. He/she could really like the people
        there. But if the left turn is Follica and stock that they have to vest
        and maybe (maybe maybe) get a buy out and pocket 50-75K, and the right
        turn is join a company like Johnson & Johnson with more security and
        real time benefits, they often take the right turn. Not to be a downer
        but that doesn’t real bare on whether the company will succeed, though I
        hope Follica does.

        Yesterday I was emailing a friend at a local
        biotech, we were just joking about something trivial. A few hours later
        I received a message – they were shut down. Not making cuts or slowly
        downsizing, 18 employees out of work ASAP. Sucks, great group where I
        knew the CEO only a bit but knew a lot of the senior staff and all great
        people who believed in the tech. Sometimes, venture capitalists don’t
        want to fight hard when a bottleneck is reached, even if money is
        currently in the bank. This company had >$24 million series A for
        good reason, amazing tech that we really need. Now… they’re gone. If
        any of the men/women I know there had been forced to relocate a couple
        of weeks ago, they would have written good reviews. However, this
        weekend they may not be speaking too positively about management.

  • Peterfriend

    Hey… it´s time to xconomy interview people from follicabio again to give us a clue of what is happening there!

  • herzog

    Allergan just completed their 18 month test of Bimatoprost (eyelash medication) on bald heads. They wrapped up in September. Wondering how we check the results on this. http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/study/NCT01325337?term=allergan+alopecia+bimatoprost&rank=3

    • McJ

      Good find.

    • curious

      not too excited about another rogaine…

      • herzog
        • curious

          Sweet. Those are pretty good results… 22% average. Looks like we are getting better (I’d love to see them push Rogaine out of business just for progression sake and because they’ve been filling their pockets with our hard earned cash). My issue is putting something on everyday, especially chemicals, that doesn’t have a great results (maybe I’m lazy). My thing with Rogaine was that it definitely had side effects… my skin where I applied it did not feel too good. If this has the same thing going on I don’t see it useful. If there was something that was once a month, maybe even once a week I’d be on board if it had decent results.

          • lurker

            I would apply something four times a day if it worked. Rogaine is not hard to apply. Brush your teeth at least twice a day – I’m assuming? Do it then – takes 30 seconds. I do understand what you say about chemicals, however. I’d prefer they not be involved, but at the end of the day – how else would we get a treatment? Plus, this is topical. The one aspect that scares me is (from what I’ve heard) this treatment can change eye color.

          • curious

            No I agree… putting it on really isn’t the worry but more of the chemicals. It also keeps the hair greasy for hours afterwards and creates a nice crust of white flakiness on your head which is hard to get off even after you stop. I used it for 6 to 8 months a year or so back… it worked but really I gave up on it because of the chemicals and things like my girlfriend kissing the top of my head once while I had it on and it was still drying. It is the combination of all of those things that makes me uninterested in it and make it “time consuming”. Does anyone know the sides for this new treatment? Any word come out yet? Just so you guys know, when I quit rogaine I lost more than what I imagined I would lose. It looked pretty bad but after 6 months is did come back in case you are considering stopping (but that was just after 6 or 8 months). In the end I wish I wouldn’t have used it.

          • herzog

            I use Rogaine twice a day and you are absolutely right. It works for me, but a dumping a string vasodilator on your head twice a day can’t be good. Especially since we don’t really know WHY it works just yet. I do know that it gives me heart palpitations and gives my whole head, face included, a bloated look. Can’t wait to get off this crap.

  • McJ

    Came across this;


    Does anyone with a bit of knowledge know how accurate this info is? Trials in Asia? I know Follica go under the radar but surely there would have been some rumor of this before.

    Slow news year, I know.

  • lurker

    Unrelated to Follica – but interesting:


    A lot of the research in baldness, including Cots PGD2 research is explaining the role of inflammation in baldness. It seems some are arguing that allergy meds can sometimes block PGD2. Basically, hinting that there’s an allergy problem – potentially. Ironically, I read this today about depression (and stress) also being linked to inflammation and allergies. This got me thinking back about Astressin B research – linking stress to baldness. I don’t think anyone’s quite there yet, but this stuff has the potential to be really earth-shattering and I think scientists are moving towards something here.

  • McJ

    So this is on;


    Luis Garza – whose name you might recognize from the news this year – and Gail Naughton are speaking at this. I don’t know but does anything worthwhile ever come out at these things?

  • herzog
    • curious

      What was the % for the main group? How far is Histogen away? I’m assuming if they have something this good they are going to want to push it forward on a fast track (inside their own system, obviously FDA is slow as it can possibly be)

    • curious

      Also, this is from the same data set previously released, which had a mean 22% increase in terminal hair for the 56 participants. The provide no breakdown of age in any of the releases that I have seen. I’d like to assume that they would try to get an even number of participants in every category whether it be age, gender, race or how far they are in the balding process but really without the numbers they could have had 2 or 3 people in the 40-59 age range or they could have 40. If it is low that means these numbers are most likely skewed as 2 or 3 people can’t really account for such a broad age range but that means that it didn’t affect the overall numbers all that much. If the numbers in this age are high that means bad news for the rest of the age groups as their numbers would have to be low to bring down the overall mean.
      Overall this is great news though, just lacking pertinent information. If this does do wonders for people 40 to 59 I find it highly interesting and want to know more as to why this age group sees best results. Obviously our chemistry changes in our bodies but I’d like to know why this is specifically happening.

  • herzog
  • McJ

    Ok, then… I’m going to take this with a pinch of ‘pessoptimism’ but this seems pretty good right? For a phase I/II – it’s safe and it seems to work. Good find herzog. Oh and what does compoundable mean in relation to all this jazz then? This is a good thing, yes?

    • herzog

      Compoundable means you can take it again and again to get even more results.

      • McJ

        Ok then! Good stuff.

  • Vikki

    Holy f**k. These figures are incredible. And I’m inclined to believe them, given that they’ve been presented at a conference of peers.
    This might just be it, folks.

    • McJ

      What’s odd is how slow some media outlets are in reporting this (I’m looking at you Xconomy!). This is way bigger than the Cots PGD2 thing in that this has actually been proven to work, I think most folks should be excited by this. I know there’s more steps to come but the fact that it’s safety has been proven and it works. This is good.

  • zxcv

    The UPenn lab has just published another paper on wound induced hair follicle neogenesis. Cotsarelis is listed as the corresponding author.

    It’s just a review, so there isn’t anything new in it, but I guess it shows that they are still researching and pushing for this avenue, which is nice.