Category Archives: Aclaris Therapeutics

Aclaris to Initiate Phase 2 Trials for JAK Inhibitors for AGA in First Half of 2018

Every time when I feel like my discussion about Aclaris Therapeutics and their soft topical JAK inhibitors for treating androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is finally done for at least 3 months, some new surprise comes up. I say “surprise” because the company has not even as yet commenced Phase 1 clinical trials for their AGA product (see pipeline), so regular unique updates are always unexpected.

This week I got several emails from Aclaris, and they mentioned their continued work and plans for the topical JAK product to treat AGA. Nothing much new in there. However, earlier today, my google alerts for Aclaris gave me a link to this new informative eight page interview with the CEO Dr. Neal Walker and various others. How does “Seeking Alpha” get these interviews before other sites?

In any case, I had to re-register with the above site in order to see the whole interview (which can be set to show up on one page instead of on eight pages). A key quote from the chief scientific officer Dr. Stuart Shanler clearly stood out and necessitated my writing this post:

“We also intend to initiate a Phase 2 open-label trial with ATI-50002 in AGA that is androgenetic alopecia in the first half of 2018.”

If this really does happen as scheduled, it would be superb news. However:

  1. I am a bit confused about why their topical AGA product in their pipeline is not labeled as ATI-50002, even though the above quote implies as such. It is also worth remembering that just two months ago, Aclaris was granted several patents that implied that a number of different JAK inhibitors (“-tinibs”) could help male pattern hair loss sufferers. So in the end they might perhaps come out with several different topical products for AGA rather than just one.
  2. It would be useful to know how they can skip Phase 1 clinical trials since their pipeline still shows those as not having even commenced as of today. As many have postulated in the past, since some of these topical JAK inhibitors have already been tested for other uses and by other entities such as Confluence and Columbia University, perhaps Phase 1 trials can be skipped or sped up?
  3. They plan to conduct open-label trials, which can be a bit biased it seems.

In any event, unless the interview with Mr. Walker et al. was transcribed incorrectly, this is a big development and the first half 2018 Phase 2 trials goal comes right from the horse’s mouth.

H/T to Malcolm for pushing me to write this post today.

Brief Items of Interest, September 2017

Hair loss news first:

Seems like all of a sudden, this became the month where important companies in the hair loss world updated their websites after a long time.

— Who else but “nasa_rs” notifying me that Aclaris Therapeutics finally updated their pipeline page. The most interesting part is that they now term their topical JAK inhibitor for androgenetic alopecia (AGA) as a “soft” JAK inhibitor (no surprise), and they term AGA as an “inflammatory” skin disorder. I have theorized for a while that perhaps people who have major itching and dandruff associated with their male pattern hair loss might be suffering from significant inflammation (and therefore, if topical covalently bound JAK inhibitors do work for AGA, perhaps they will help those with itchy scalps much more than those without). Aclaris has also started a CEO blog on its site, which hopefully gets updated more frequently.

— Perhaps of even more importance, Dr. Tsuji/Kyocera/RIKEN partner Organ Technologies also updated or renewed their website (h/t Fuji Maru Kagurazaka) recently. On their hair follicle regeneration page (after translation), they state:

“We are currently pursuing research and development with a view to clinical application of hair follicle regeneration as the world’s first organ regeneration in humans in 2018”

As an aside, whatever has happened to our invaluable Japanese correspondent/informant “nosyu”? Hope he comes back some day.

— Of least significance, but nevertheless worth mentioning, Follica finally added text to the bios of some of their new team members including Dr. Dhurat.

— I am always highly skeptical of newer smaller companies when we first hear about them. However, Rivertown Therapeutics has been a bit harder to ignore. According to a new interview with the company’s co-founder Dr. David Weinstein, their product is unlikely to come out before 2022. However, in spite of the somewhat disappointing news, I am impressed that Dr. Weinstein is keeping abreast of the latest developments in the hair loss world based on his mention of Dr. Lu Le’s work on Krox20 and his own work on the related transcription factor Oct6. What do the experts on here think about that portion of the interview?

— The same Ohio State University (OSU) doctor who amazed us recently with this unbelievable breakthrough from his lab is now making claims about hair regeneration from palm tocotrienol complex. I am highly skeptical, but still willing to keep a track of his work because of the OSU affiliation.

Dr. Koray Erdogan.

— Interesting article on the travails of hair loss in UK paper Mosaic.

— Androgens and androgen receptor action in skin and hair follicles.

— Topical tofacitinib possibly promoting hair growth via VEGF growth factor induction. This is the kind of research that keeps me interested in both JAK inhibitors and platelet-rich plasma (PRP).

— Generation of iPS-derived model cells for analyses of hair shaft differentiation (h/t HLprevention).

And now on to medical items of interest:

China: pig to human organ transplants two years away.

Nanoparticle drug to turn bad white fat into good brown fat. I am thinking as my next project.

Bionic lens, superhuman threefold vision.

CRISPR changes flower color. Would be great to change untanned Donald Trump into a Sudanese African. That is my political input for the year.

Something better than CRISPR?

Coma communication.

Vaccine to prevent tooth decay.