Category Archives: Aclaris Therapeutics

2018 American Hair Research Summit

One of the less desirable aspects about writing this blog is learning new acronyms or alphanumeric product names virtually every week. Half way into this month, my street cred has already been enhanced by “SFRP1”, “WAY-316606” and “HSC660”. Today come “AHRS” and “IID”.

AHRS 2018

Recently, I learnt that the American Hair Research Summit (AHRS) is holding its first conference from May 14-16, 2018 in Orlando, Florida  at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. Having covered numerous US and global hair loss conferences on this blog in the past, I did not recall having ever heard of the “AHRS”. It seems like this is the first ever conference being held by this newly formed association.

On their website, they state the following:

“The American Hair Research Society (AHRS) is the former North American Hair Research Society (NAHRS). Because of the great interest and contributions in hair research from colleagues in Central and South America, the “NAHRS” has expanded to “AHRS”.

The AHRS has manged to get an excellent list of speakers and presenters at its first ever summit. Some points of interest:

  • Final Program Guide.
  • Abstract Book.
  • For a majority of us, the most interesting presentations are under the session titled as “Stem Cells, Hair Follicle Neogenesis & Regenerative Medicine”.
  • A number of you posted various links in relation to Aclaris Therapeutics’ press release about this conference. I removed all of them because I did not want that discussion to take place in the comments to my prior posts. The key sentence in this latest Aclaris press release is: “Current efforts to expand the range of diseases that could be targeted with JAK inhibitors will be discussed with emphasis on hair disorders, including alopecia areata and androgenetic alopecia.”
  • The Aclaris presenter Dr. Paul Changelian is an extremely respected researcher when it comes to JAK inhibitors. Especially Tofacitinib.
  • Aclaris and Samumed are both Silver level sponsors of this event.
  • Update: One of my inside sources e-mailed me today and said that there was some excitement about the results presented by Cassiopeia in relation to Breezula. Before anyone gets too excited, remember that Breezula is just a topical anti-androgen and unlikely to cause totally balding regions of the scalp to regain their past glory. Nevertheless, a good maintenance treatment in itself would be very welcome.
  • Dr. George Cotsarelis chairs an important session titled “PRP: Hope or Hype?”. A number of other presentations on PRP are also worth tracking.
  • Also a number of presentations on the similarly controversial laser and hair growth subject in the session titled “Photobiomodulation, Thermal and Light Therapies”.
  • The women continue to take over. The four co-chairs:
Angela Christiano
Dr. Christiano
Maria Hordinsky
Dr. Hordinsky
Wilma Bergfeld
Dr. Bergfeld
Antonella Tosti
Dr. Tosti




IID 2018

Interestingly, the International Investigative Dermatology (IID) 2018 Meeting is also being held at the exact same Rosen Shingle Creek Resort location in Orlando from May 16-19, 2018. I am not too impressed with some parts of the IID 2018 website, but Aclaris is making several interesting presentations at this event.

In the first of those links, one of the abstracts is titled:

Efficacy of topical tofacitinib in promoting hair growth in non-scarring alopecia“, and the author is from Thailand. Usually, the JAK inhibitor related studies are authored by US based scientists, so this is a nice change.

Non-scarring alopecia includes androgenetic alopecia, so I looked around and found this paper by the same author. Interesting that so much varied research over the years has found VEGF to be so important for hair growth.

Also of note is the fact that so many of the Aclaris presentations entail tofacitinib. We are still not 100% sure as to which of the various “-tinib” JAK inhibitors and their combinations the company is modifying and using in its much anticipated covalently bound topical JAK inhibitor product for treating androgenetic alopecia.

However, it looks like a certainty that some variation of tofacitinib will be a major component of the final product.

Aclaris Therapeutics Countdown Begins

As usual my plans to avoid talking about Aclaris for several months went down the tubes yet again (always a good thing). For those who are new to this blog, you can go to the “Categories” menu and select the “Aclaris Therapeutics” choice to read all my prior posts about the company. It is developing a unique topical JAK inhibitor product to treat androgenetic alopecia, the most common type of hair loss.

Aclaris Therapeutics Phase II Trials Commencing

Yesterday, blog reader “Champpy” made a highly interesting lengthy comment about the soon to start Aclaris Therapeutics Phase 2 clinical trials for their topical JAK inhibitor product named ATI-50002 (for treating male pattern hair loss). He was approached by a research company that is recruiting volunteers for the trials. The most important part of his comment was that they are especially interested in patients who are at least Norwood 3, 4, and 5 on the receding hairline scale. This caught my eye, because the implication is that the company expects ATI-50002 (if effective) to regrow hair even on entirely balding regions of the scalp.

Moreover, Aclaris also updated its clinical trials page yesterday with far more details (h/t “Tocatta”). While they mention that they are looking for 24 male and female participants, the research company that approached “Champpy” said that there was major interest from people interested in volunteering. I wonder if they can change their minds and recruit more than 24 people? Or maybe they are recruiting 24 people in each location that they mention on there (Colorado, Oregon and Texas) for a total of 72? The trials are expected to be completed at the end of October 2018.

Having mentioned all the above encouraging and speedy developments, it is still a good idea to keep things in perspective:

  1. There is a possibility that this topical JAK inhibitor treatment can cause serious side effects, including cancer. At the moment, this possibility looks to be rare to nonexistent, but it is too soon to tell for sure. Of course at the slightest sign of cancers or tumor growth, clinical trials will likely be disbanded immediately by the US FDA.
  2. Even on alopecia areata patients who often see tremendous hair regrowth with oral JAK inhibitors (e.g., see here and here), success rates have not been universal. Some patients see no regrowth at all, although at least half seem to get great results. So even if this treatment does end up working on those with androgenetic alopecia, it is likely that some people will never see any benefits.

I have mentioned this a number of times, but it is worth repeating: Aclaris is the first ever company involved in the search for a hair loss cure that has moved along faster than expected. In all other cases that I can remember from the past, companies involved in this sector have moved along far slower than expected, with numerous delays in trials and funding. Oftentimes, these companies have decided not to proceed with final stage clinical trials; or have sold rights to other companies; or have decided not to bring a product to the market even if it is somewhat effective at regrowing hair.

Hopefully Aclaris keeps surprising us and goes All The Way in this year of Shohei Ohtani.

Also, in March and April 2018, Aclaris CEO Neal Walker purchased almost 20,000 of his company’s shares.