Category Archives: 3D Organoids

Kangstem Biotech Hair Cloning in 2024

Update: May 24, 2024

Kangstem Biotech just announced that it has signed an agreement with HLB Biostep and HLB Biocode to establish an organoid-based drug safety and efficacy evaluation platform to develop cell therapy products. Among these will include a hair loss treatment based on skin organoids. Also of interest, a new study regarding skin organoid technology development that is co-authored by a Kangstem affiliated scientist.

December 28, 2023

Perhaps the best hair loss cure related news of 2023 just came out last week (h/t “Theo”). South Korea based Kangstem Biotech plans to test a hair cloning type of hair loss treatment in 2024.

The company will commercialize a cloned hair follicle-based drug screening and efficacy evaluation method; and begin nonclinical efficacy evaluation of hair transplants based on the cloned hairs.

Kangstem Biotech Hair Cloning
Kangstem Biotech hair cloning via hair follicle organoid culturing.

Kangstem Biotech to Commercialize Hair Cloning Treatment in 2024

Kangstem Biotech (South Korea) was founded in 2010 by Kyung-Sun Kang and is publicly traded. Its shareholders include a range of major Korean and Western companies. Without checking this company’s reputation, I might have delayed this post to next year.

The company specializes in cord-blood derived stem cell and other anti-aging related treatments. They are also a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO). I never heard about them till this week.

During the past two weeks, Kangstem Biotech had two press releases that are quite remarkable:

  1. On December 6th, the company announced plans to speed up the commercialization and launch of skin organoids to 2024. Interestingly, in 2021 they had an update about their artificial skin technology and partnership with Seoul National University.
  2. On December 22nd, the company announced plans to begin commercialization of the world’s first human hair follicle organoid-based hair loss treatment in 2024.

Per the second press release, Kangstem Biotech signed a contract with the Seoul National University Industrial Cooperation Foundation for:

“Human hair drug screening and human hair follicle production and culture technology for hair transplant materials to develop and commercialize hair loss treatment based on hair follicle organoids.”

Also check out the summary in Newsprime. And on Linkedin.

The company also states the following per the Korean to English translation:

“This technology is the world’s first artificial production of human hair follicle organoids in a test tube, and is a technology that reproduces human hair follicles.”

Kangstem has a two pronged approach when it comes to usage of its technology:

  • Provide a drug screening platform for the development of hair loss or hair growth pharmaceutical treatments. They plan to launch their business for hair follicle-based efficacy evaluation methods in 2024.
  • Begin non-clinical efficacy evaluation of using the hair follicles they culture for use in actual hair transplants. Also in 2024.

The government regulations for regenerative medicine in rapidly aging developed Asian countries have become very flexible. South Korea cannot afford to wait too long, considering that average birth rates in the country hit just 0.72 children per woman in 2023.

Also of significance, South Korea and Japan are both trying to become world leaders in cosmetic procedure related tourism.

South Korea’s Leadership in New Hair Loss Treatments

This adds yet another new South Korean entrant in the hair cloning or hair multiplication sector. Others that I have covered recently include Epibiotech and Han Bio. For a list of all major South Korean entities that are working on any kind of important hair loss treatment, check out my page on hair loss cure research around the world.

Update: Below is an e-mail update to me on 12/29/23 from “Theo” —

“From the press release I understand that they will commercialize hair follicle/skin organoids for drug testing by the first half of 2024. In parallel they will test the hair cloning technology in non-clinical trials to confirm efficiency (if I understand correctly). This technology is similar to Stemson, because both companies works with iPSCs and in vitro, and Stemson is at least 10 years away from commercialization.

Non-clinical testing in South Korea is the first step required by the state, and then comes clinical trials.

Guidelines for clinical trial approval (CTA) for drugs:

This is a very well established company, very well funded, with high quality infrastructure and connections. So it should go very fast.

The main CEOs and scientists in KangStem come from Seoul National University, which is in the top 25 universities worldwide.”

AttisLab: 3D Organoids and Hair Growth

I cannot go more than three months without writing about yet another new South Korean company involved in curing hair loss. The latest one is AttisLab, which comes less than two months after I wrote about Kangstem Biotech.

Atti Lab
Attis Lab website screenshot with CEO and co-founder Dong Ha Bhang’s bio.

AttisLab: 3D Organoid Culturing and Hair Growth

AttisLab (also called Attis Lab) was founded in South Korea in 2019, but is only now becoming better known (h/t “Theo”). Their technology entails 3D organoid culturing, just like Kangstem’s hair follicle organoids.

The company’s co-founder and CEO Dr. Dong Ha Bhang gave an interesting interview in December 2023 that is worth reading after translation. I highlight the key points further below.

Note that Mr. Bhang completed his Postsdoc at the University of Pennsylvania. The other co-founder Dr. Kwan-Hyuck Baek is a research fellow at Harvard Medical school. Several of their advisors work at Columbia University. Their VP Thorsten Sperber is a highly experienced scientist and biopharma consultant.

I was 50/50 about covering this startup company so soon. However, when I saw their entire team listing, I got more curious. Of most interest to me, their CEO, head researcher, a scientist and an advisor all undertook research at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The latter is home to George Cotsarelis, and is perhaps the premier hair and skin related research center in the US.

Interestingly, CEO Dong Ha Bhang also runs Biattic, which is geared towards improving animal health and life. One of the paragraphs on their site is applicable to most developed nations today:

While the number of family members is decreasing, the interest in pets has increased. The number of pets in South Korea has reached 10 million.

3D Organoids versus 3D Spheroids

Make sure to also check out my past posts on 3D culturing and 3D spheroids. Note that 3D organoids are not the same as 3D spheroids. Organoids are advanced mini-organs that are far more complex and very similar to real organs. You can read more about 3D organoids versus 3D spheroids on this page.

Early Commercialization of Hair Loss and Wrinkle Treatments

AttisLab’s main long-term goal is the treatment of cancer and the disease of various organs such as the kidney and liver. However, hair loss is more likely to be treated in the near term per the CEO interview. Some other highlights:

  • Among the technologies owned by AttisLab, hair loss and skin improvement (wrinkle treatment) are areas that can be commercialized early.
  • The company plans to enter the Japanese medical market first via commercializing autologous stem cell treatments. This is due to Japan’s cell therapy sector being at an advanced stage of development. AttisLab will provide treatments through a regenerative medicine hospital in Tokyo.
  • They are also in the process of entering the United States hair loss treatment market due to its large size.
  • In its home nation of South Korea, the regenerative medicine legal framework was only enacted relatively recently, AttisLab expects this system to improve rapidly.
  • In November 2023, Attis Lab attracted a $2.4 million investment from a US based investment corporation.
  • The hair loss treatment will use autologous adult hair follicle stem cells, so it will be safe and pain free. Adult hair follicle stem cells will be cultured as 3D organoids and preserved through a cell storage system. These cells can be continuously replenished if additional treatments are needed.

Key quote from CEO Bhang:

“Compared to other companies researching stem cells, AttisLab’s autologous adult stem cell culture technology allows for mass culture that is approximately 1,000 to 100,000 times more efficient using 3D cell culture technology.”

On AttisLab’s website, I also noticed the following statement:

We succeeded in the mass production of stem cells using 3D organoid culture technology. Utilizing this feat, we are currently in the process of developing personalized cell therapy using various types of stem cells.

As always, we can’t take any of this very seriously until clinical trials begin. Or unless the company can proceed without any trials in Japan in the future due to the autologous nature of this procedure. In either case, it is always great to see companies that are started and led by highly experienced scientists.