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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