Category Archives: Follicum

Follicum Phase I/IIa Results

I first covered Swedish company Follicum and its FOL-005 hair growth product in this post from almost exactly two years ago, followed by another post early last year. Thereafter, I have only covered the company in passing as part of my once a month “brief items of interest” posts, since most new developments were minor and related to country specific patents and so forth. My main reasons for following this company are due to the facts that they are conducting their research at the prestigious Charité Hospital in Berlin, Germany; they have an impressive group of hair loss related scientific advisers; and they have been providing fairly regular news updates.

Follicum 2016 Annual Report

Earlier today, a person by the name of “Rickard” e-mailed me and asked me to check out Follicum’s latest report (it was just a one sentence e-mail). When I then went to Follicum’s website, the news section had not been updated since last year, while the press release section had several updates from last week, one of which was the release of their annual 2016 report. Its in Swedish, but can be downloaded and then uploaded and translated via “Google Translate”. I learnt some interesting new things in the report:

  • Follicum was founded in 2011 based on research fron Lund University by Anna Hultgårdh Nilsson and Pontus Dunér.
  • The company’s technology entails isolating the protein osteopontin, which regulate hair growth.
  • “FOL-005 is a section of the protein, gathered in a small molecule (peptide) where two amino acids deleted and replaced by a third”.

Follicum Timeline

  • Company inception (2011).
  • Preliminary study on live mice (2012).
  • Study on human skin in vitro (2013).
  • Study on human skin transplanted to mice (2015).
  • Toxicity study for three months (2016).
  • Clinical Phase I study of subjects (implemented 2016-2017).
  • Clinical Phase IIa study – a limited effect on the study subjects in the phase I study (2017).

At first, I was not sure about writing a new post on Follicum just because of the above annual report…However, thanks to commentator “Hopeful” posting this new link, I realized that this was probably what “Rickard” was talking about earlier.

Follicum Clinical Study Shows 8 Percent Hair Growth

After translating this new link, it seems like Follicum’s FOL-005 resulted in an 8 percent increase in hair growth in patients treated at the Charité Hospital in Berlin in phase I/IIa clinical trials. CEO Jan Allenfal states that this compares favorably to existing treatments that results in a 4-14 percent average increase in hair count. With further testing and experimentation of dosage and composition, FOL-005 is likely to results in even superior results.

I think its great to get a third option to the two main current treatment options (Finasteride and Minoxidil). Even something new that only maintains existing hair would be very welcome (especially for those such as myself who are not keen to reduce their DHT levels for many years continuously via taking Finasteride).

However, will FOL-005 grow back hair in those who are already severely bald? Not likely.

Brief Items of Interest, January 2017

Hair loss news first:

— Replicel’s CEO provided a detailed 2017 forecast, and this was followed up by the release of an important PowerPoint presentation in which the company summarized 6-month results of their RCH-01 product (Note: they also mention finalizing 5-year safety data in the first quarter of 2017, which makes sense since they started initial clinical trials in 2012). Key current finding: “mean change in total hair density at 6-months = 6.1% vs 5.0% target“. 70 percent of responders saw a 14.3% average increase in density at 6-months. While they did not mention 12-month RCH-01 results, they do point out 12-month results from Finasteride (7-14% increase in hair density) and Minoxidil (8-16% increase in hair density) for comparison. Also of note, Replicel partner Shiseido’s Japanese clinical research findings are expected in 2018 along with a potential product launch in the same year.

— Aclaris Therapeutics made yet another presentation (pdf downloadable from their press releases page — I did not listen to the webcast), this time at the 35th Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. At the end of the report they mention that pre-clincial development is now underway for their topical ATI-50003 selective covalently binding JAK 3 inhibitor to treat androgenetic alopecia. However, nothing in the report mentions when they aim to start phase 1 clinical trials. I hope it will be before the end of 2017.

— Follicum announced patent approvals in Russia and in Japan. The company had earlier also announced that they were scheduled to complete the multiple dose part of their clinical phase I/IIa study in January 2017 at the prestigious Charité University Hospital in Berlin.

— Judging from the latest update from Fidia Farmaceutici (Italy), The Dr. Brotzu lotion will not come out as early as some people expected, and a lot of people on the forums got mad (but a few took it as a positive sign that Fidia is finally releasing dates even if ambiguous i.e., “development of the potential product candidate being completed by 2018“). Ever since I first wrote about Dr. Brotzu, I have not paid much attention to this product, but if you are inclined, go through the last 50 or so pages of this record breaking HLT thread and check out the various Italian hair loss forums out there.

— Also from Italy, some kind of PRP plus insulin type of treatment (hard to tell for sure after translation).

— Researchers identify how skin cells become hairy or sweaty during the embryonic stage of development. Actual study.

This guy got a hairpiece and over 2 million youtube views in the process. He is probably someone famous, but I did not feel like doing any background research or even watching most of the video.

And now on to medical items of interest:

— From a team led by the most famous hair loss researcher in the world Dr. George Cotsarelis (who has been at it for at least 20 years), comes a new study on how to heal wounds without leaving any residual scars. Key quote from Dr. Cotsarelis: “Essentially, we can manipulate wound healing so that it leads to skin regeneration rather than scarring. The secret is to regenerate hair follicles first. After that, the fat will regenerate in response to the signals from those follicles”. I have discussed the link between fat cells and hair cells many times on this blog, including in the last post on the arrector pili muscle. These latest findings were widely covered by the global media, with headlines such as “The End of Scars“. The Reddit thread on this blew up. However, as with all things Cotsarelis, headline grabbing findings, but one always gets the feeling that practical use will be at least a decade away unless other labs get in on the action.

Babies born without mothers (via embryos made from male skin cells) will come sooner than expected warn scientists. Surreal.

Designer babies: an ethical horror waiting to happen? I am all for it even if it turns out horrific.

Alzheimer’s drug “tideglusib” helps rotten teeth regenerate, reducing the need for fillings.

— Chinese company implants 3D prints blood vessels into monkeys.