AI and Machine Learning for Hair Loss Drug Discovery

In the past, I briefly discussed the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in drug discovery. Especially when it comes to the potential of rapidly testing new compounds to treat hair loss. Funding for drug discovery startups that use AI is now really taking off.

Update: June 20, 2024

New AI Solution to Diagnose Hair Loss Type via Scalp Biomarkers

Cosmetics manufacturer Kolmar Korea (South Korea) has developed an artificial intelligence-based solution that can diagnose hair loss using scalp biomarkers. The technology can diagnose 16 different types of androgenic hair loss (nine male and seven female). A dermatologist collects samples of a patient’s scalp, places them on proprietary analytics equipment, and has the AI-powered tool screen scalp surface biomarkers.

Kolmar Korea expects that its diagnostic tool will help hair loss patients and dermatologists choose optimized treatments. The company also plans to develop various cosmetics that target each of the 16 different types of androgen related hair loss.

Update: March 31, 2023

Speeding up drug discovery with diffusion generative models such as the DiffDock molecular docking model.

November 4, 2022

Using AI to Predict Hair Loss Compounds

Recently, “Lorence” posted an interesting link to an article that is titled: “Researchers use AI to predict compounds that could neutralize baldness.” The actual study from China is here and it was published on October 20.

In the article, they mention that male pattern hair loss is caused by androgens, inflammation or an overabundance of reactive oxygen species. One potential treatment for the last mentioned is via the creation and utilization of “nanozymes” that mimic the superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzyme. SOD helps fight damaging oxygen free radicals.

The scientists tested machine-learning models with 91 different transition-metal, phosphate and sulfate combinations. A highly efficient manganese thiophosphite (MnPS3) based SOD mimic was discovered using machine learning tools. These ML techniques predicted what cobination would have the most powerful SOD-like ability.

The team subsequently prepared MnPS3 microneedle patches which they used to treat androgenic alopecia-affected mouse models. Microneedling allowed the MnPS3 to penetrate deep layers of the skin (where hair follicle stem cells reside) and remove the excess reactive oxygen species. Within 13 days, the animals regenerated thicker hair strands that more densely covered their previously bald backsides.

Insilico Medicine

Several years ago, there was much hype about a new AI drug discovery company named Insilico Medicine. Among the conditions the company aimed to develop drugs for included hair loss. While they mentioned hair in a number of their past press releases, you no longer see it on their pipeline page.

Neither is it mentioned in a very recent interview with their CEO. The company was covered in the below 2020 video on artificial intelligence for hair loss.

Other Hair Loss Companies using Artificial Intelligence

Also of interest, in late 2019, Iktos (France) and Almirall (Spain) signed an agreement in which Iktos’ AI modelling technology would be used to design novel optimized compounds for Almirall. The latter is a company that is entirely focused on skin and other dermatological conditions. They currently make the world’s only topical finasteride product that has undergone rigorous clinical trials.

Another hair loss company making use of artificial intelligence is South Korea’s Epibiotech (h/t “Ben”). In October 2021, it signed an agreement with CN.AI in order to accelerate the discovery of new hair loss drug candidates.

Opensource Databases and More

Make sure to also read my post on the publicly available DeepMind AlphaFold protein database. Also of interest are open source sites such as the Driskskell Lab’s skin regeneration and wound healing related datasets.

More recently, Dr. Maksim Plikus and his team at UCI developed CellChat, which enables the better understanding of cell-to-cell communication and signaling.

Note that artificial intelligence is also being used for other purposes in the hair loss world. Among these include:

  • Fully automated hair growth detection and measurement systems.
  • New deep learning-based systems used to quantify hair characteristic by scalp area.
  • Tools to help with hair loss self-diagnosis.
  • The ARTAS robotic hair transplant system also uses AI technology when it comes to hair transplants. Only during the graft extraction process for the time being.
  • And as of 2023, the generation of real and fake before and after hair growth photos.

25 thoughts on “AI and Machine Learning for Hair Loss Drug Discovery”

  1. Thanks admin, good overview. There’s probably a lot of research going on in the background. It’s a goldrush, but eventually only very few startups will survive.

    Isomorphic Labs of Deepmind/Google (Alphafold) is the most popular example in the field of digital drug discovery. Demis Hassabis (the founder) once said his dream is to simulate a human cell, and subsequently a whole organism – unimaginable at the moment. The amount of data and intelligence needed for this is just colossal.

    As I said before, chinese research papers are very underwhelming to me. Loads of fancy words, little substance. I remain skeptical.

    Amplifica is definitely the best example regarding ML/AI in hair loss research. „CellChat“ is the tool they developed to simulate the effect of molecules in cell to cell communication. Resulting in the discovery of the impact of SCUBE3 (and probably also the other candidates of Amplifica).

      1. Those new simulation-instruments are really mind-blowing and will change our world in many facets of life (not only medicine). The improvements are incredibly fast, and the systems soon will improve themselves, at which point nobody knows what will happen. But that’s a different story.

        Another example of AI in hairloss is Epibiotech, last year they announced a MOU with another Korean company called CNAI, which is specialized in „synthetic data“.

          1. Well, if you can digitally simulate or copy (without any errors) anything, and manipulate as you like within this simulation, you basically have solutions to every problem within seconds – you „just“ have to applicate the manipulation in the real world…be it weather, climate, fusion energy, viruses, hair follicles, human body. Sounds like science-fiction but I am not so sure anymore. Deepmind and OpenAI are constantly delivering small revolutions already (GPT-3, DALL-E, Codex, Gato) – and the tech is still in its infancy.

            Demis Hassabis is imho the greatest mind alive – his biography is really interesting.

            Something else came to my mind, I think Tsuji‘s effort here is worth to mention too. That’s also a kind of a simulation to understand the biology of hair.


          1. I am in no place to seriously rate companies (although I emotionally do it every time lol), I think admin has much better knowledge and connections.

            Everything I know is based on patents, research papers, interviews, press releases, news sections from websites – like everybody else.

            But if you insist on an answer: Epibiotech is one of my absolute favorites. They probably will be the first to run a cell-based trial (after Intercytex). But there’s other reasons too.

  2. Ben..what is your view generally of papers produced by Kintor? I share your take on Chinese reports but Kintor seems legit if their progress in clinical trials means anything.

    1. I personally think Kintor is 100 % legit.

      They are listed on the stock exchange, they run numerous clinical trials simultaneously, well funded, they apparently have over 300 employees, the trials are being run extremely quick, a huge R&D facility, 110 patents, they are already 13 years old, they are transparent, they share news, they are specialized in androgens.

      It’s not that every company from China is a fraud.

      But I am not too hyped about Pyrilutamide. Their PROTAC-candidate though has absolute disruptive potential and is already in trial 1.

  3. I think it has potential but not anytime soon. Google has gazillions of dollars and have you seen what they’re doing with AI? It looks terrible. I hope everyone keeps pushing this, some day it’ll be great. But not in our lifetime. Not anytime soon.

    1. What looks terrible? Google’s use of AI in medicinal use is at a very very early stage. But Google is a AI powerhouse, its there in each every product people just doesn’t realise it.

      1. Yeah since they created “hey Google” to rival Siri things have really started looking up in the hair industry lol.

        Sure, AI is used all over the place (in the tech world, mostly). Nothing so far to write home about. Nothing medically that’s been cured, that I’ve heard of. Pretty sure they’re a million years away from that. I’ve seen zero credible evidence to say otherwise. Lots of research though – but don’t they always say that? Then decades pass…

        Anything is possible, but anyone is waiting for AI to cure baldness, good luck.

  4. Hello admin,

    How is it ensured that test subjects do not cheat in clinical trials? This is of significant importance!
    People react to incentives after all…

    Do you know more?


  5. I would like to read the administrator’s opinion on Omega Therapeutics. In my humble opinion, it is the only medical company that tackles a hair loss treatment idea that can actually bring us a cure.

    1. All the companies working on mRNA, miRNA, siRNA, and RNAi based products are in very early stages. To be honest, these days I am not motivated enough to track the terminology and differences in approach until a company is entering Stage 2 trials. In any case, you can read the below two posts thoroughly and let us know how you rank each company mentioned if you want!

  6. Interesting field of research.
    Recently some ads for hair fillers started to appear in my feed. I was skeptical but actually this may be a good way of drug delivery once or twice a year – much better than everyday/week application of most drugs and even microneedling. Another advantage is that it can be formulated with cocktail of compounds.
    Has anyone tried some hair filler for maintaining the hair that is left on the scalp?
    Also I’m still not quite sure what’s the difference between mesotherapy hair injections and hair filler injections. Probably the filler has hyaluronic acid and releases the compounds slowly in time providing longer lasting results? I also notices that at least in my country the price of the mesotherapy injections and hair fillers is not that high – if I sum all the money for lotions, creams, serums and conditioners on a monthly basis it adds up to the price of such treatment. So I’m curious has anyone tried these treatments with good results?
    Here’s an example of a hair filler:
    Hyaluronic acid (0.70%)
    PBS (phosphate buffered saline solution)
    Peptide complex:
    Hair growth: Decapeptide-28, Octapeptide-2, Oligopeptide-71, Decapeptide-18
    Anti-hair loss: Oligopeptide-54, Decapeptide-10
    Anti-inflammatory: Octapeptide-11

  7. Will AI cure baldness?
    AI Finds a New Compound to Fight Baldness

    They tested MnPS3 on mouse models of alopecia by delivering the compound through the skin via microneedling patches. Within two weeks after treatment with MnPS3, the mice began growing thick, dense hair that filled in their bald spots.28 set 2023

    What happened to these patches??

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *