Aclaris Therapeutics Raises $20 Million and will use Some of the new Funds for JAK Inhibitor and Androgenetic Alopecia Research

When it comes to the subject of JAK inhibitors and androgenic alopecia, commentator “nasa_rs” is always ahead of the curve and keeps adding tremendous value to this blog for which I am grateful. My taking time off my regular daytime work and writing this post is due to his comments from earlier today to my last blog post.

Just a few hours ago, it was announced that Aclaris Therpeutics had raised around $20 million from a private stock sale.  Main item of interest:

Net proceeds from this offering are expected to be used to fund research and development, including new JAK inhibitor programs for androgenetic alopecia (also known as male or female pattern baldness) and vitiligo, as well as ongoing business development.

One more article on this development.

If you have not done so already, you should do a search on “JAK inhibitors” in this blog and read all the past posts on the subject.  The two biggest news stories of the year in 2014 both entailed different JAK inhibitors curing alopecia areata (which is a type of patchy scalp hair loss that affects <5 percent of people).

Will JAK Inhibitors work for Androgenetic Alopecia?

Ever since then, we have had some conflicting opinions from experts on whether JAK inhibitors will also cure androgenic alopecia, by far the most common (>95 percent) form of baldness.  The two leading researchers in this field, Dr. Brett King and Dr. Angela Christiano, have both been somewhat optimistic about this potential. Moreover, my recent post from March provides further reason for optimism.  It says a lot about my obsessiveness or whatever you want to call it that I got so much joy in bolding the text “androgenic alopecia” in that March post, and now again in this post.

In any event, I am still 50/50 about the potential for JAK inhibitors to cure androgenic alopecia.  However, raising $20 million in one go is no joke in the hair loss industry, especially since there is no evidence provided by Aclaris as yet that JAK inhibitors can really cure male pattern hair loss. I am even unsure if they can consistently cure/reverse vitiligo.

Several years ago, when Histogen raised $10 million (for a technology that they had already proven with many years of research behind it), it was touted to be a big deal.

This is a much bigger deal.

Further reading: Mr. Neal Walker, CEO of Aclaris Therapeutics.

239 thoughts on “Aclaris Therapeutics Raises $20 Million and will use Some of the new Funds for JAK Inhibitor and Androgenetic Alopecia Research”

  1. Appreciate the compliment but far from genius haha. I just have an obsession with getting this crap fixed once and for all. I’m sick of fighting this with ineffective treatments based off of ancient science. I’m freaking over it. I’m in my late 20’s and I will be damned if I have lose my quality of life in my 30’s over this too. And if no one else once to take the time to read up and link together factors then I will. And it is great because we can actually do something about this right now. These drugs are already approved. It will at least answer the question once and for all. To answer your question nasa-rs I think it has a really darn good chance of working. But like I’ve said i definitely think it needs to be a topical in high enough concentration with excellent delivery, and I wouldn’t use it alone. I would take finasteride to help silence the androgen angle while taking topical tofac. I think reversibility is the big question…. can AGA be not just halted like castration does, but reversed? I have pretty much close to no doubt at this point that over expressed stat3 is a major player in AGA… the reversibility is the key question.

    As far as being reversible, I also think yes on this. Stat3 is a master transcription factor and if you look up many of its functions, it doesn’t even need to be phosphorylated through JAK to still have an effect in other parts of the cell (mitochondria, etc). By using finasteride, all one is doing is cutting down on the DHT that hits the already over-expressed by stat3 androgen receptors. So because it has been overexpressed and oversensitized to androgens already the DHT still available and testosterone still has ample targets to hit. This is why I think that fin has limited results. You are helping the microenviroment directly near the damaged follicle, which is why you see regrowth in those areas but almost never completely on an empty barren area that has already undergone extensive miniaturization. You have got to target the stat3/inflammatory pathway to see anything in these areas in my opinion. Still some questions though… Like what about scar tissue buildup…. Can that be reversed? I dunno on that. What about the losing contact with the erector pili muscle? I do think that one would be reversed with TOFAC because another team has already shown that overexpressed stat3/il6 causes retarded muscle repair in those who have aged and lowering this fixes the problem (google it).

    I also don’t think that AA and AGA are as dissimilar as some like to believe. They are both pattern hair loss with miniaturization. One is rapid and one is slow. One we know the pattern, and the other we have a good idea but don’t know the endpoint. Both have inflammation, although it is worse in AGA the follicle loses contact with the erector pili. And we know in AA that these drugs have to be taken continuously to work. Perhaps in AGA if it proves successful TOFAC will only need to be taken long enough to restart the hair cycles and then taken as needed after that (when things start thinning out again).

    1. @Matt

      You say STAT3 is overexpressed in AGA. Do you have a source for this, and in what parts of the follicle is it overexpressed (i.e. dermal papilla, ORS, bulge, etc.)?

    1. Read my post below. The two men who were on Beno (arthritis drug from the 1980’s) reportedly regrew their hair. One old guy who fell head first into a campfire regrew his hair but since he was old he may have been on Arthritis drugs although at the time no reason to believe it was the reason why he regrew his hair.

      Summarizing, yes you can be bald from AGA and regrow your hair.

  2. Matt – the hair follicle genius.

    Transcendental experience can answer the first part of your detailed analysis. As you know, Beno (according to news report on the Net) regrew hair on two men one of whom had been balding for 30 years (probably did not have any hair on top). He had new hair regrow on top as thick as on the sides. Another story of an elderly bald man who fell into a campfire head first at the temple area.

    He had a massive burn then regrew his hair. My guess is since he was Old that he may have been on an Arthritis drug not something that they would have correlated to regrow hair at that time. My guess the Arthritis drug became concentrated as result of a huge scab and helped to regrow his hair (my personal theory). There were before and after pictures on this guy.

    Thus 3 men who had male pattern baldness two of whom in their 70’s and they regrew their hair when they had been bald for decades. Consequently is it possible to regrow hair after being bald for decades – HECK YES!!!

    And I was saying that Tofac would work when even Dr. Christiano first believed that it would not. Only the Admin on this website and a few other people came to believe my Theory when I mentioned to them.

    I had sent a personal email to the Admin of this website and he had agreed with me (that was about a year ago) and did my best to spread my theory across the web as I did not want the cure to become hidden like Beno. Fortunately I am sure that follow up research happened that surprised the scientists that Tofac should work.

    Therefore, I think that this proves that we CAN regrow our hair. Summarizing, we all agree that it should work and WHEN it does we are all OUT OF HERE. Yes I still say very soon if not end of this year then next year.

  3. You’re talking about getting this drug , getting an accurate doseage, and matching a delivery vehicle , if it even works . If Alclaris can make this drug work for aga its going to trial , thats a fact . To get it before that happens will be a tall order in my opinion, due to the fact it wont be easy to replicate all those things I mentioned above . I know people are on it or, trying it now but we dont hear any success. That tells me something with it will need to be modified, How do you replicate something you cant get cause its in trial? I got to believe that will be a very guarded secret.

  4. Official reply from fidia regarding brotzu

    “Frankly speaking I do not know who is saying that Fidia will market the product in 6 months.
    As previously underlined in my mail, Fidia just began a clinical trial, with a defined protocol, focusing on a specific formulation suitable for industrial scaling-up.
    Regretfully, we are not able to figure out in advance the formulation’s effectiveness and tolerability, that shall be demonstrated during the trial, with statistical significance and clinical relevance.

    Therefore we haven’t got yet defined a time frame for release of the product.

    Please consider any other information from our as unreliable.”

  5. Given the quick test-and-result setup of these FDA approved drugs, I believe that the people working at or with Aclaris (auch as Angela Christiano) already know if it can cure mpb. And now, the fact that they mentioned androgenic alopecia first as their focus for a 20 million dollar investment is tremendously good news, as they wouldn’t be doing this had their preliminary indications been discouraging.

    I honestly think Dr. Christiano already knew it worked in her interview with Spencer, however she backed off her optimism at the very end of the interview to avoid giving anything away until the future owner could supply official data and statement releases at a time which most benefited the company.

    Jak inhibitors have been effective in improving harvested dp cells and in mice hair simulations, and neither of these successes were related to alopecia areata.

    The logical indicators seem pretty positive here, so fingers crossed everyone!

    1. Another person who gets my extreme optimism. Yes I am elated at the current news especially since there is no other news.. I will be happy about a potential 100% treatment that is very close any day of the week.

  6. Hope for the best with jak ^¬^ Im pretty sure that if its proven and made to affect aga its going to sweep any competition in regrowth terms

  7. I did a little research about Brotzu’s patent. And you know what? If he managed do deliver an appropriate dosage of S-Equol to our scalps, we will have a new maintance drug. With NO sides! And that lotion also consist DGLA which is claimed to increase anagen phase=some regrothw.
    Exciting.

    1. That’s a big if, but I guess it’s logical he did. People are actually starting group buys on the forums already trying to do it

      1. I’d love to see where they are doing that (group buys) to see the results people post and if they are any good. Any suggestions DNP? Are they going to be sharing results?

    1. I would also like to know what’s your guys thoughts on this. I’m feeling a bit down right now I hope I didn’t f myself up.

  8. @admin – this is a huge side thought but I’d love to know your stats for this site. It seems that it has exploded but I also realize that about 1/4 to 1/3rd of the comments comes from 1 or 2 people, while another 1/3rd are a few handful.

    Are you getting more unique hits in general?
    If so, when did it increase?
    Do you feel like there is a correlation with anything that is happening and traffic to this site?

    or

    Do we have a lot of serial posters who are inflating the number of the comments? I assume that there are more people visiting the site but I could be wrong.

    Just me being curious…
    Cheers.

  9. DNP please provide a link about these group buys. Who is in charge and what products do they want?
    Dut and RU don’t work anymore so time to move on to the next step.

  10. We all talkin bout jaks like its somethin fruity

    Dr Angela representin colombia university

    But the only one with a plan is takashi tsuji

    In a Japanese lab he’s cloning hairs like dolly

    Bout to start clinic trials (well, in 2020)

  11. Hi,
    I’m very ready to testing inhibitor of Jak for me and for you. I will develop my own study with photo support each period of time . I’ll keep you posted. I have money to buy Tofacitinib and I want to do my personal study as soon as possible.

    However, I ‘d like to know the proper dosage and the recipe to whip cream for the drug penetrates the best in the skin.

    Thank you to Matt and oko for their discussion about me. Here is the exchange between the two protagonists ”

    oko
    May 29, 2016 at 10:33 am

    If William HAS access to tofacitinib , Surely someone knows how we can make it into a safe topical formulation for _him_ to trial ?

    Also , I remember a user called Expired Phil Collins Was using Rice Bran extract CO2 , do we know how that’s going?
    ====
    Matt
    May 29, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Must dissolve in tofac 99.98 % medical grade dmso . Then add to the mix medium . Not sure what this medium shoulds mix made ​​up of yet.
    In my opinion you need at least 4-5 % topical tofacitnib to hope to be effective .
    And I aussi Would not try this topically UNLESS I Was aussi try trying to hit Ar at the time with Sami oral finasteride . ”

    I ‘m not sure I understand everything the explanation of Matt. Does its response is complete ? If not, can someone fill Matt ‘s response to the best of its knowledge so that I go all the necessary tools and information to promote the success of my personal study?

    I remind you that my hair loss is a medicinal diffuse alopecia . I lost all my hair because I took Prozac, Risperidone and Concerta during many years at very high doses. My alopecia is not AGA.

    Thank you!
    William

    1. Sure. Thank you. But I need informations dosage/ingrédients) to start my experience. That is the purpose of my message. Thank you in advance to Good Samaritan for this informations.

  12. William are you going to try dermabrasion + Jak? I really think this could be effective. Christopher1 already tried the topica application of Jak and it did not give results, are you going to act differently from him?

    1. I don’t know. If I have the good protocol, good dosage and good ingredients for the topical form, maybe.

      Dermabrasion? What’s this?

    2. Using a JAK inhibitor directly after wounding would actually give you worse results. As garza stated in his paper the JAK/stat and il6 pathways are used to create NEW hair follicles after wounding. If JAK/stat inhibition is effective it is going to be in waking up the already damaged existing follicles.

  13. Here is the Christiano research study-
    http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/9/e1500973.full

    Explaining the drugs used-
    Tofacitinib was purchased from AbMole BioScience (catalog no. 477600-75-2). Hedgehog agonist (SAG) was purchased from EMD Millipore (catalog no. 566660). JAK-STAT inhibitors were dissolved in DMSO and used at 2 to 3% for in vivo experiments, as indicated, and 400 nM for in vitro experiments. SAG was used at 120 μM, as described by Paladini et al. (2).

    Here is the Paladini research article explaining the need for hair follicle morphogenesis, which Christiano mention in their report.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15324830

  14. I can’t believe people are actually going to use topical jak on to a dermarolled scalp. This drug is very potent if it gets into the blood stream. It can weaken immune system and all sorts of other serious side effects. You have to be a moron to mess with this stuff like that. Let the scientist at aclaris figure out the correct dosage and vehicle. I see a lot of people getting really sick in the next couple months who dermaroll and use jak.

    What happened to SM? They were moving quickly through phase 1 and 2 and 2b. They went quiet now? I was hoping for this for 2017

  15. Yeah I wouldn’t be messing with Jak right now until we know the specifics. They are attempting to make it so the drug can penetrate deep enough to be effective but without going systemic for a reason. Dermarolling will guarentee this gets into your bloodstream. Besides its going to be another half assed attempt at best, the results will not be what this person is hoping for, and again we will hear that Jak is useless for mpb and that now TWO people have tried topical jak with no effects. In my opinion we should just wait for further trials or at the very least wait until we hear that it definitely helps mpb and they give out the exact formula. There are too many variables to have a random baldee make a mixture and slap it on his noggin.

    1. While I don’t necessarily disagree with you, I think it’s important to point out that the reason to explore topical JAK inhibitors is that Dr. Christiano said topical was more effective in rats than oral- not that going systemic was too dangerous. The Alopecia Universalis boy from Dr. King was ingesting JAKs, not using a topical.

  16. in resume:

    tsuji team: 10 years
    replicel/shiseido: dead? no news
    histogen: eternal delay: dead
    clinic cfs spain unlimited donor: we will see in september
    JAK: 2 or 3 forum members tried witouth results… maybe with worng vehicle???
    mmm maybe 3d printers in near future?
    the technology grow fast every day, this is the real hope, every day, every year.
    more and more fast. remember the changes with cell phones, hiv therapies, tv led, hd, 4k, 8k, in 2 or 3 years we will take lens for perfect vision.(ocumenics))
    fingers crossed and hope, the only real thing…

    1. Wow sets… Way to cast a dark light over the research happening…
      I’d say it is more like:
      tsuji: 10 years
      histogen: received 9 million, starting trials in Mexico for phase 3 (or final phase) right now, plan to release in 2018
      replicel: licensed to shiseido for research with planned release in 2018
      Follica: Planned release in 2018
      Aclaris: Just received 20 million to fund 3 trials, primary trial being JAK

      I understand the feeling of desperation but do you need to be updated every single day to think that a company is moving forward?

      Cheers

  17. Concerning Tsuji’s work – I wonder how Tsuji will make hairs grow in the correct direction. If I remember correctly, he guided the growth of the mouse hairs using a nylon string. Obviously that won’t be possible on thousands of growing hairs on a human scalp.

  18. Nasa, why do you keep saying that we will know *very soon* if JAK inhibitors work for AGA? I think you’re just being optimistic here… I mean have the trial start date and end date been announced?

    1. They raised $20 million and specifically stated it would be used for research for AGA using JAK Inhbitors, and Veritigo, and Product Development (product development could be to help ramp up AGA). I assume the are going to use the funds like they said they would and this is a for profit company, they mean business.

  19. I must thank admin for producing the most insightful and reliable resource on hair loss on the internet.

    I have a mildly scientific background, and I’m reading up on androgen receptors, JAK/STAT pathway etc. I just wondered if there was an official forum for people to post their theories and share ideas?

    Matt clearly seems very clued up with the research, and I’m sure there are many other educated people with similar scientific knowledge. Surely it makes sense to make a place for everyone to share their theories. Any ideas?

    1. Thank oko. There are numerous hair loss forums out there where you could post your theories.

      The most active one is probably hairlosstalk.com/interact, but it seems to be down the past two days due to an upgrade.

      1. Thanks for the reply admin. I am aware of such forums but there isn’t really a specific section for people to share their ideas.

        I remember reading FGF11s post and thinking it made a lot of sense, but people ended up calling him a liar/arrogant and it scared him away from posting again. Obviously I’m being optimistic, but if we have more open thinkers like him we might just be able to solve it ourselves

    1. Anyone know if PureTech has been funding Cotsarelis/Follica since Follica’s inception in 2006? And would this suggest confidence on PureTech’s part or are they just stuck with Follica anyway?

  20. I’m not leaving this topic for a while. By the end of this year we will know if JAK is the solution. Then all we have to do is to find out the solution and we are done – by year end of this year.

    210 Days (hopefully sooner) and Counting before we know…

    1. I should say 210 days before I have the treatment.

      They should release the dosage and the Effectiveness based upon the dosage.

  21. @nasa_rs, what makes you think that we’ll know by the end of the year? I hope your right but I’d like to have a proper educated answer to my question??

    1. They are about to start the research at Aclaris on AGA using JAK. Its a public company and must report to shareholders the status of its research every quarter.

      Is that educated enough?

        1. I do think we both agree on JAK/STAT inhibition being an extremely important piece of the puzzle. We do have a minor disagreement on timeline, but, I will point out in your favor that these drugs already being approved and in trials for another type of hair loss lends itself to the chance that these could be out much sooner than I think. Take for instance Cotsarelis and his work in Follica. The reason it has taken that team so long (10-12 years) is because they had to invent a method and device to implement their wound induced follicle growth. With something like Tofacitinib or Ruxolitinib I believe the downtime could be much quicker.

  22. @nasa_rs How will you get the JAK inhibitor? I know I am jumping the gun, but I have been asking my doctor/dermatologist/random internet pharmacies and it looks like it is going to be difficult to get someone to write me a prescription for it.

    Also, do you think you can use it just until you grow your hair back, or will you have to use it forever to maintain the hair? Thanks.

  23. Thanks admin. Keep up the good work! Love the positivity from some people in the comments section. Just helps deal with this situation(MPB) I’m in easier. Despite all the negative comments I feel hope. If this works I will grow my hair annoyingly long. LOL.

  24. I think after its approved that jak will work for mpb, it will be much easier to get a description, or buy from somewhere. There will raise a lot of people or pharmacies etc they are willing to cell these drugs for public use.

    1. Yep.

      This shows the Clinical Status of Clinical Trials for Aclaris. Note: A-201 is JAK for AA using a Pill; and A-301 is JAK for AA using Lotion.

      We will shortly see JAK for AGA (normal pattern hair loss) very soon.

      http://www.aclaristx.com/#!pipeline/sqz09

      Like others have said, I plan to find out IF it works and what is best dosage. After that I talk to my Doctor. Just my opinion folks.

      Lastly, Dr. Christiano thought it would take about 4 years until a commercial product would be available at the drug store specifically for normal pattern hair loss (assuming it works in clinical trials).

      1. Remember, some people are trying JAK right now but they do not know the dosage or correct mixture and we still do not even know if JAK can solve AGA hair loss. No one should ever try anything without a doctor’s approval.

          1. I am following the Trials that Aclaris has right now for AA using Dr. Christiano’s formula and they are about to start AGA Trials. Being a public company they have a Pipeline Chart to where you can see where they are in terms of research PLUS any big news should be announced on their quarterly telecom (conference call for investors).

            Lastly, I noticed that Replicel’s stock is at 10 cents and did not trade any shares today. Consequently, I think that is it for them.

  25. nasa_rs. why do you say they are about to start aga trials? from where did you got this information? based on what?

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