Is Histogen Hair to Stay? Amid Patent Lawsuit That Is Mane Event, CEO Updates Plans to Advance its Hair Regrowth Treatment

San Diego-based Histogen became something of a high-wire act on the local biotech scene last year after a cross-town rival filed a patent infringement lawsuit against the startup—upending Histogen’s plans to develop a variety of regenerative medical treatments.

The patent suit, which was filed a year ago by Carlsbad, CA-based SkinMedica, hit just as Histogen was preparing to report early results of its experimental treatment to stimulate hair regrowth among 24 men with male-pattern baldness. As we reported at the time, the prospect of costly litigation prompted a group of angel investors to withdraw their planned $2.4 million investment, and Histogen was forced to lay off all 36 employees.

At that time, it seemed likely that the teetering startup was headed for a fall, and Histogen would soon be history.

That still could be the outcome. Lawyers for Histogen filed a request for a summary judgment last August that would dismiss the case. Lawyers for SkinMedica filed their response in September, arguing to keep the lawsuit on track and headed for trial. I reviewed the filings in San Diego federal court yesterday, and U.S. District Judge Thomas J. Whelan has yet to rule on the arguments over Histogen’s bid for an early dismissal.

Meanwhile, as I reported in an end-of-the-year summary, many Xconomy readers continue to root for success in Histogen’s experimental treatment for male pattern baldness.

But we haven’t heard much from Histogen since July, when the startup reported final results of its early study. In the experiment, a single injection of the company’s hair regrowth product—formerly known as ReGenica, now called Hair Stimulating Complex, or HSC—was made just beneath the scalp. Histogen says nearly 85 percent of the two dozen balding men had more hair three months after being treated, and they experienced an increase in hair thickness and density.

To get an update, I recently spoke by telephone with Histogen CEO Gail Naughton, who highlighted the company’s latest plans for … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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