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With $6M Investment, Histogen Aims to Grow Hair Business in China

Xconomy San Diego — 

Histogen, a San Diego-based regenerative medicine company with technology for growing skin cells and related products, said it has raised $6 million from an affiliate of Huapont Life Sciences, a healthcare products company based in Chongqing, China.

The $6 million anchors Histogen’s plans to raise as much as $18 million in a Series D financing round, according to Histogen spokeswoman Eileen Brandt. She described the initial funding from Huapont as a strategic investment, as Histogen plans to work with the Chinese pharma conglomerate to make and distribute its lead product in China.

Histogen also plans to use the funding to begin preparations for an initial public stock offering, according to a statement. Including the $6 million from Huapont affiliate Pineworld Capital, Histogen has raised a total of roughly $33 million since the company was founded in 2007.

Histogen’s lead product, known as Hair Stimulating Complex (HSC), is an injectable liquid that combines cultured skin cells with cell growth factors, special proteins, and other cell-secreted molecules. The company uses a so-called “bioreactor” to grow skin cells, growth factors, and other related compounds under simulated embryonic conditions.

Histogen claims that HSC triggers stem cells in the scalp to form hair.

Histogen HSC Hair Growth study

Histogen says image shows hair growth in a male subject after receiving 20 injections of 0.1cc HSC in thinning areas, with a repeat dose at 6 weeks. The study has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, but Histogen CEO Gail Naughton has presented them at the World Congress for Hair Research and the 2016 Stem Cell Summit.

Histogen said it plans to negotiate a license and supply agreement for the development and commercialization of HSC in China. As part of the funding deal, Huapont’s Hayden Zhang will join Histogen’s board of directors.

Huapont Life Sciences’ pharmaceutical business includes dermatology products, cardiovascular products, anti-tuberculosis agents, autoimmune-related products, and oncology-related products. The Chinese company has about 7,100 employees, and generates annual revenue equivalent to roughly $1.1 billion.