I have discussed Follica briefly in various posts on this blog. For the most part, I have assumed that the company either has insufficient funding or its owners have very limited interest/ motivation to ever come out with their seemingly very safe technology involving wounding and the creation of NEW hair. Follica was founded in 2006, so I stopped looking at them seriously after almost a decade of waiting.
However, today Follica was issued an important patent governing its wounding technology (it seems like the patent will also cover the application of some compounds after wounding).
Moreover, in my brief updates post from last month, I mentioned Dr. Cotsarelis being granted a new patent related to FGF-9 and hair growth (he filed for the patent in 2014). Follica’s technology is based on work done by Dr. Cotsarelis, and it seems like one of the things that the company might do after wounding is to add the FGF-9 growth factor into the scalp?
I am still not overly optimistic about Follica, since there are 100s of examples of patents issued in the hair loss world without any of them actually resulting in a decent treatment for hair loss. Nevertheless, it is great to see Follica back in the news. Among hair loss researchers, Dr. Cotsarelis seems to be the king of patent holders.
The following quote regarding Follica’s technology from this 2013 article is quite encouraging:
Although Follica has released few details on their proprietary procedure, the general idea is clear: their patented minimally invasive “skin perturbation” device removes the top layers of skin, causing the underlying skin cells to revert to a stem-like state, after which a molecule is applied topically to direct the formation of new hair follicles. Indeed, Follica has already done preclinical and clinical trials, says Olle, “all of which confirm that we can consistently create new hair follicles in mice and in humans. As far as I know, no other approach has been able to achieve that.”
Interestingly, Dr. Ken Washenik is a scientific adviser to Follica. The company itself is owned by PureTech, which owns a dozen healthcare sector companies as of today.