Category Archives: Vixen Pharmaceuticals

Jefferies 2016 Healthcare Conference — Dr. Neal Walker Confirms that Topical JAK Inhibiters will be Tested (and Work!?) on Androgenic Alopecia Patients

Update: Listening to the webcast again (yes it is still available), Dr. Neal Walker clearly states that while systemic JAK inhibitors did not work for androgenetic alopecia, topical JAK inhibitors did work for androgenetic alopecia (and not just for alopecia areata)!  This is huge.  Thanks to commentator “Bob Ross’s Hair” for typing out the exact quote below for us:

We will be developing a topical JAK inhibitor for androgenetic alopecia, and the data on that is quite interesting in that they found that the systemic JAK inhibitor does not work for that particular indication, but the topical does, mainly as a function of the target being more superficial in the skin and not really accessible from a systemic circulation.


The important Jefferies 2016 Healthcare Conference is going on in New York City as I am writing this post.  It started five minutes ago (12pm EST — aka NYC — time).  The CEO of Aclaris Therapeutics, Dr. Neal Walker, is presenting.  You can view it live via registering here.  Or from here.

The best part is that 19 slides are already available to view at the top of the ongoing webcast, and Dr. Walker just mentioned that they are now more confident about JAK inhibiters and will be developing a topical version for androgenic alopecia!!  One more small leap for “nasa_rs”,  but will it finally translate into one giant leap for mankind?

Slide numbers 16 and 17 mention androgenic alopecia.  The key March 2016 acquisition of and partnership with Dr. Angela Christiano’s Vixen Pharmaceuticals (Columbia University IP) is what seems to have spurred the optimism behind developing and testing topical JAK inhibitors on androgenic alopecia patients.  Slide 16 also mentions that they are working on next generation JAK inhibitors called “covalently bound highly selective JAK3 inhibitors.”

Note that those slides and the audio webcast presentation are both supposed to soon be available on Aclaris’ website, but will only remain there for several weeks.

So JAK Inhibitors Could yet Still Cure Androgenic Alopecia!?

After my relatively long break, I had a lengthy post planned for today, but need to delay it due to a potentially great new development.

Summary of the Recent Past

In 2014, the biggest news in the hair loss world involved two separate developments related to two different JAK inhibitors (Ruxolitinib and Tofacitinib — search for both on this blog’s “Categories” menu as there are numerous posts on them) curing alopecia areata.  While those developments were incredibly exciting and groundbreaking, unfortunately the vast majority (>95 percent) of balding men and women suffer from androgenic alopecia (AGA) rather than alopecia areata (AA).  However, in 2014, Dr. Brett King did suggest that there was a possibility that JAK inhibitors could also cure androgenic alopecia during his interview with Spencer Kobren. In my own analysis, I have always stated that for many androgen related hair loss sufferers, perhaps there is also an inflammatory component (hence the increased itching and dandruff) and such cases could benefit from JAK inhibitors.

Thereafter, there was no news on this potential cure for AGA for a while, until in 2015 the one and only Dr. Angela Christiano posted results (albeit in mice) that suggested that JAK inhibitors could treat androgenic alopecia.  A must read post.  Moreover, this could occur via a topical (as opposed to oral) formulation of the two main candidate drugs: Ruxolitinib and Tofacitinib!

Thereafter, silence yet again for a long time.  Even worse, Christopher1 on hairsite stated that JAK inhibitors did not cure his androgenic alopecia.  He seems like a very reliable forum member over there so I was disappointed. However, the one good thing is that we do not know how accurately people are using JAK inhibitors at the moment since some are using off-label products, some are going to inexperienced physicians, some are trying topical experiments etc… so I still had some hope.  In any event, please be aware of the risks involved in these experiments and do not try them yourself.  Always see a physician before trying any drug to treat hair loss.

Thereafter, further contributing to the bipolar disorder and mood swings, on March 5 2016, a commentator named “Rick” posted an interesting comment on this blog that was largely ignored (and I am very surprised at this).  Although I hate to trust any one such commentator (especially in this particular case since he is also using Minoxidil as part of his treatment), I will still paste his comment below since it was missed by so many blog readers:

Just want you all to know that I have had very good success. With using tofacitinib 30% mixed with minoxidil. I have been doing this process topically for 3 months and have achieved full follicle growth! I will update you more in 30 days. And yes that is for male pattern baldness.

Perhaps “nasa_rs” has influenced me too much and I am looking for any positive signs?

Today

In any event the whole reason for this post is that today came news that Aclaris Therapeutics was buying Vixen Pharmaceuticals (Dr. Angela Christiano and Columbia University affiliated company).  See Form 8-K here.  At first, when I read a one paragraph news alert summary of this acquisition, I did not think much of this development since I had been to Aclaris’ website in the past and remember reading that they only deal with Alopecia Areata related drugs.

However, I then read a lengthier article about this latest acquisition and some things (see below in red font) clearly stood out:

“As a result of this transaction, Aclaris acquired worldwide rights to intellectual property licensed to Vixen by Columbia University covering the use of certain Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitor compounds for the treatment of alopecia areata, androgenetic alopecia and other dermatological conditions.”

“The acquisition of the Vixen intellectual property and the licensed JAKPharm and Key Organics compounds solidifies Aclaris’ presence in the JAK inhibitor space and allows us to broaden our focus in hair loss to include androgenetic alopecia, often referred to as female or male pattern baldness,” said Neal Walker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aclaris. [HT: Commentator Julian for pointing out that Mr. Walker is also CEO of Follica].

“We are delighted to enter into this agreement with Aclaris for the development of JAK inhibitors for alopecia areata, androgenetic alopecia, and other hair loss disorders,” said Dr. Christiano.”

In conclusion, welcome back nasa_rs.