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

1/15/10Follow @bvbigelow

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 »

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

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  • Jonathan

    Wow. This really seems like corporate terrorism if you look at it. SkinMedica waited for a critical time where Histogen was expecting to get necessary cash investments, then filed a lawsuit based on (from what I can ascertain) absolutely no evidence of patent infringement at all. It’s a pity as I haven’t read any reports at all about SkinMedica’s progress with their hair treatments.

  • jordan

    how come the other link (follica gets new ceo) doesnt work anymore?

  • Ritchie

    Yeah, I can’t get on the old link anymore

  • Pingback: Histogen to begin phase 2 clinical trials in 2010()

  • http://xconomy mtaylor

    i beleive the topical is what is drawing the lawsuite. basically to slow histogen until theres is ready. a mind game…………….keep pushing histogen you will be there shortly that is if the fda dont kill you first……………

  • John

    And I’m happy to say Histogen wiped the floor with SkinMedica’s *ss in court. Hopefully they can get back to work and this will end up not being more than a bump on the road.