Interview with Dr. Anu Singh of Dabur Research in India

In my first post on Follicum in 2015, I mentioned how the Swedish company had pre-clinical trials for its hair loss product conducted by contract research organization Dabur Research Foundation (DRF) in India.  Around a month ago I contacted DRF with some questions. The company’s vice president of R&D was kind enough to reply to all of them.  Interview is below, with bolded parts being the most interesting for us in my opinion.

Hi Dr. Singh,

I am not sure how many of the questions below you can answer, but even a few would be great.

1) You said that you have been involved in the hair biology sector for 15 years.  During that time, how many companies or other entities have you conducted research for that were involved in the hair loss industry in some capacity or other?  I assume most or all of those were developing an oral or topical product for hair loss?

In the last 15 years Dabur Research Foundation has worked with more than 40 companies that were working on hair loss and hair growth promoters.  Yes, these companies are working on both topical oral products, though a larger number are focused on development of topical products.

2) If you answered the above question, what portion of your hair research related clients were from developed countries? Are there companies in India that have worked with you in the hair biology sector?

We found a lot of interest and focus on hair biology in Scandinavian countries as well as in Europe.  In India we have worked with biotechnology focused start ups that are developing novel targeted molecules for hair loss.

3) What makes a company (e.g., Follicum) that is based in a developed country decide to use your services rather than use the services of local research organizations with which they can have daily in-person communication?  Is the primary benefit a lower cost?

I believe that cost may play a role, but the decision to work with us is perhaps based on the long years of experience in this field.  The models in hair loss/hair growth need to be highly quantitative in nature so that the leads that have the highest probability of working in humans can be fast tracked.  We have invested in early years in development of these robust, quantitative & predictable models for hair growth.  I believe that this is the strength that we bring to our partners.

4) During the 15 years that you have been doing work on hair biology, have you seen any significant trend that would indicate that a new drug(s) to treat hair loss is very close?  We have had no major publicly available drugs to treat hair loss other than Minoxidil (Rogaine) and Finasteride (Propecia) in all these decades. Nothing new in the last 15 years other than Dutasteride (Avodart), but that is not officially approved to treat hair loss.  Are you optimistic that at least one of the companies that you have worked with will bring to market something groundbreaking in the near future for us hair loss sufferers?  Are we close to stopping and perhaps even reversing hair loss with a drug?

The more we learn of the multiple pathways causing hair loss, more likely we are to find a good product.  Hair loss is multifactorial, so developing products that modulate all or most of the key pathways and targets should be the goal.  I am confident that these approaches will bring new effective hair growth promoters in the next 3-5 years.

5) Can you provide us with names of some companies or institutions that you have worked with in the hair loss research arena over the past 15 years?  I just know about Follicum.

I am sorry, we enter into a confidentiality agreement with each of our collaborators and currently I am not at liberty to disclose names.

6) Will you ever be conducting human trials in India?

Yes in near future, we intend to test a novel hair growth promoter developed by us in the clinics.

7) Have you heard about the new regulations in Japan that speed up clinical trials (essentially, you get to skip what we refer to as final Stage 3 trials in the US)?

Sorry, please tell me more about this.

8) What portion of your hair loss related research has been in vivo versus in vitro?  When it comes to in vivo testing, are mice the only animals that you use for work in the hair biology sector?

Over the years we have built expertise in both in vitro as well as in vivo models for quantitation of hair growth.  Our approach is to minimize the usage of animals & at the early stages use in vitro alternatives like hair papilla cultures.

Anu T. Singh Ph.D

Vice President (R&D)
Dabur Research Foundation

36 thoughts on “Interview with Dr. Anu Singh of Dabur Research in India”

    1. You better follow up about the Japan trials! But I thought that only applied to cell based treatments..

      Also, do we know of any Scandanavian company working towards something?

  1. “The more we learn of the multiple pathways causing hair loss, more likely we are to find a good product.  Hair loss is multifactorial, so developing products that modulate all or most of the key pathways and targets should be the goal.  I am confident that these approaches will bring new effective hair growth promoters in the next 3-5 years.”

  2. @Shane, well said! Just 5 more years and we will have something new. The best option we have right now is to keep our fingers crossed for Samumed going into phase 3 and that they will be as fast with that trial as they have with their previous.

    @Admin, have you tried contacting SM for an interview? Im aware that they are pretty tight lipped but you have an excellent site here so maybe they will agree to a little chitchat:-)

  3. Admin, if anyone deserves to get all of their hair back it’s you. Thanks for all your hard work and investigating!

  4. I don’t trust anything from India. Sorry that’s just me. However we all know something new will come out in the next 3 years. It’s more obvious than ever before. Latisse, samumed, sisheido etc. Thank you admin for keeping us posted on all these companies and where they are in clinical trials. I honesty believe you know more than the guy you interviewed. However it’s always good hearing it from another source like this Indian guy, even I correlate India with scam artists and counterfeit medicine lol

  5. Admin…any new updates on Follicum? Did they start their phase I/II trials yet? I think they are good company as well.

  6. I got a letter from Dr Cotsarellis yesterday. The dermatologist that is part of university of PA that I went to last year is now working with him. It was a standard default letter but now I have the opportunity to see him for a dermatology visit. I will call on Monday and make an appointment. Hopefully he won’t be booked up for 6 months and hopefully he sees patients but I have a feeling he is just focused on research and a typical doctor at the office.

  7. Thanks much for reaching out to people in the industry, Admin. The more info we have the better, and the more they know people want this the better!

  8. admin let’s go into business together. we’ll buy a yacht sail balding men into international waters and give treatment still in phase 1 to all of us who could give a damn less

  9. such a bad ass business model .. free data for the company, free treatment for the patient, rapid progress in keeping or discarding what was learned, a triple whammy win win win situation.

  10. If you get a chance ask what he thinks about the long term dangers of oncogenesis through manipulating the WNT pathways. Clearly the short term risk is low but given WNTs role in oncogenesis it seems feasible that the hair loss mechanism might be partially about reducing risk of malignant cells developing via cell senescence/differentiating into lower risk/slower growing cells.

  11. Admin, I hope you understand that this company is one of the most reputed and trusted company in India. @paul phoenix, yup fella, good news it is. However, I have never ever come across any quality hairlos treatmnt for mpb from this company. Sad but true. @mjones, dear friend trust me all Indian products are not hopeless. And @spanky, dude I hope you are doing great.
    P.S. I am an Indian myself

  12. @optimism, thank you mate im doing good. Hope all is well with you too? Im trying to stay positive about SM and keeping fingers crossed that they will soon go into phase 3:-)

  13. everyone who says that in 5 years we can expect better treatment or who is happy because samumed start clinical trilas in phase 3 is idiot.
    we must expect cure not f…..g treatment.
    this becomes very frustrating and very sad.
    every day i read this comments and nothing positive.
    last year dr christiano said that we can expect maybe jak inh for aga, but why she can not do something or we must wait another 10 years ?

    1. If You continue to think in that way more and more frustrating Will be for You….idiot! You need to live inthe real world….

    2. Totally agree with Jere! It’s always a waiting game and other games with hairloss. Well hopefully SM will come out and work better to stop hair loss to buy us sometime for a even better treatment. Remember guys pharmaceutical companies Do Not produce cures. If you think a full blown out cure is going to hit the market then you are in for a big disappointed. Hope for a treatment that can maybe grow 50.% hair back. Or replicel sisheido. They have been working the past 18 years on the next best hair loss cure and what do we get. …the same old news. I’m happy to see that SM might come out soon. If it can give me back 10 to 20% density and stop further loss I will be very pleased. However this needs to come out within 1 to 2 years max or else it will be worthless for me.

    3. I’m new here. Anyway, you are being unrealistic here. With AGA being a GENETIC problem there’s no such thing as a cure. The best thing we can get is a type of treatment that 100% works and is 100% safe. Would be better if we only need to use it once every month or at the very least thrice a week. If you were asked whether there is a cure for hunger what would your answer be? Well, the truth is even food can’t cure hunger.

  14. Everytime trial results of competitors are made public, Merck and Johnson & Johnson are celebrating all night long, as there is again still no significantly effective alternative, let alone one that is on the market for consumers.

    In some kind of way we are still ‘forced’ to undergo an expensive FUE, and that’s just the thing we don’t want, because there is still no drug on the market that really maintains our current hair situation.

  15. why every treatment in this world have a minimal results? why these treatments help by % in regrowth? why not in full regrowth? i think these treatments affect the weak hair follicles and not the minitaurized ones, we need a treatment that affect minaturized ones.

  16. Hair is very complicated. Growing a vagina, detecting gravitational waves in space, face transplants, sending rovers to mars, growing teeth, are much easier to do than growing a follicle lol. The people that upset me the most is that Lauster team in Germany. Wtf are they doing for the past 15 yrs. All this hype about them and they haven’t done shit

  17. Because the pharmaceutical world is earning billions of dollars of these none working products, so a proven haircure is declining there business, thats the big point .

  18. @admin update: follicums fol-005 is a fish in a barrel… dead. check their latest news release planning on this molecule
    for hair growth inhibition. hopefully one of their other molecules provides better stimulation but further down the rabbit hole we go once again.

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