Category Archives: Geoff Hamilton

Stemson Therapeutics: Hair Follicles from Stem Cells

I cover Stemson Therapeutics (or its founder Dr. Alexey Terskikh, or its CEO Geoff Hamilton) at least several times a year. This company represents the leading hope for a hair multiplication related hair loss cure. Among the highlights:

I now usually keep updating this post rather than write a new one each time. Google penalizes too many short posts on the same subject.

Stemson Therapeutics: 2022 Updates

Update: February 12, 2022 — Joe Tillman and Spencer Kobren have released three mini-interview videos of Stemson CEO Geoff Hamilton. Parts 2 and 3 are the most important:

Update: February 1, 2022 — Stemson just hired Dr. Kapil Bharti and Dr. George Murphy to its scientific advisory board. Both seem to be renowned scientists in the world of regenerative medicine and stem cell research.

Update: January 18, 2022 — Mr. Hamilton is covered in a new MIT Technology article titled: “Going bald? Lab-grown hair cells could be on the way.

Alexey Terskikh and Geoff Hamilton

Update: December 2021 — Stemson founder Alexey Terskikh just co-authored an interesting new paper titled “The rise of induced pluripotent stem cell approach to Hair Restoration.”

“Combined with robotics and automation of the transplantation process, this novel regenerative medicine approach is well poised to make hair restoration a routine procedure affordable for everybody who can benefit from it. At present, it seems that the generation of DP cells through the neural crest intermediate has the lowest barrier to enter the clinical trials in the next few years.”

Note that Dr. Hamilton also gave the keynote address at the recent Global Hair Loss Summit.

Update: October 12, 2021 — Presentation at the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine’s “Meeting on the Mesa”:

Update: September 1, 2021 — Market Knowledge podcast interview with Geoff Hamilton. Make sure to watch the video in there.

Update: July 15, 2021 — Stemson covered on the news by local San Diego ABC News affiliate:

Update: October 2020 — The ISHRS interviewed Dr. Alexey Terskikh on video.

Update: September 2020 — Stemson just got another $7.5 million in funding from Allergan and Fortunis Capital. h/t reader “James”. Quote from the CEO of Fortunis:

“Stemson’s novel cell therapy approach to treat hair loss has game-changing potential.”

CEO Geoff Hamilton said the following:

“Stemson has established the biological and technical building blocks which are needed to solve the problem of hair loss. A truly curative solution is now feasible.”

We have heard similar praise from a number of other company CEOs during the past decade. So no use in getting hopes raised this early in the process.

Note that Allergan is involved in the hair loss world via investments in a significant number of upcoming companies and technologies.

Stemson Therapeutics Hair Multiplication
Stemson Therapeutics Hair Multiplication via Dermal Papilla Cells. Source: Company Presentation, 2021.

September 14, 2020

Stemson Therapeutics Patent Approved

Earlier today, Stemson Therapeutics announced that its cornerstone patent had received approval in the US.

This patent (No. 10716808) is titled “Methods and compositions to modulate hair growth”. The technology is licensed exclusively from the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute.

The process outlined in this patent entails a novel process to differentiate Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC) into dermal papilla cells (DPCs). The latter cells control hair follicle generation and hair cycling.

Considering that Stemson is yet to even start human clinical trials, I do not expect this product to come to market any time soon. However, the scientific research behind this company’s technology seems to be solid, and the company itself is well funded (see further below).

On the company’s news page, last week they announced the hiring of Dr. Meghan Samberg as Vice President of R&D and Preclinical Development.

June 27, 2019

Stemson TherapeuticsDuring the last 30 days, we have received positive updates from: Aclaris Therapeutics; Dr. Lowry (new company Pelage Pharmaceuticals); Follica; Polichem; and Shiseido.

We also had a positive story from Columbia University (Dr. Angela Christiano) this week that I did not cover. It pertain to past research on JAK-STAT signaling and hair regrowth. I did not think that we could have a more inspiring month than we have just had in the world of hair loss cure research.

Stemson Therapeutics has Arrived

Perhaps the biggest story of the year is the fact that Stemson Therapeutics is now a reality, and they have officially launched their website. I originally covered this company in 2018, and discussed its research all the way back in 2015.

Moreover, Stemson has secured a multi-million dollar investment from pharmaceutical giant Allergan. In Dr. Alexey Terskikh’s interview with me in 2017, he mentioned that the biggest thing holding them back was lack of sufficient funding.

I have asked Dr. Terskikh to give us another interview soon and hopefully he will accept. Earlier this month, he told me that his lab was given a podium presentation at the ISSCR conference on June 27th. However, he did not mention the below surprising development.

Functional Hair Follicles Grown from Stem Cells

Functional hair follicles grown from stem cells.
Functional hair follicles grown from stem cells. Source: Sanford Burnham and Alexey Terskikh.

Earlier today, San Diego based Sanford Burnham Prebys published a what seems to be groundbreaking new article: Functional Hair Follicle Grown from Stem Cells. Note that this research institute is affiliated with Dr. Terskikh. More on their Twitter account.

The breakthrough is because scientists from Sanford Burnham have created natural-looking hair that grows through the skin using human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). According to the article, this “could revolutionize the hair growth industry”.

Unlike in past experiments where new hair growth was underneath the skin, haphazard, and disorderly, the current results produced hair growing above the skin in a uniform pattern. The breakthrough was achieved by using a biodegradable 3D scaffold that guided hair growth through the skin in its preferred direction.

Actual paper is here. Lead researcher is a Dr. Antonella Pinto.

The current protocol is based on mouse epithelial cells combined with human dermal papilla cells. However, the derivation of the epithelial part of a hair follicle from human iPSCs is currently underway in the Terskikh lab. Key quote from the article from today:

“Combined human iPSC-derived epithelial and dermal papilla cells will enable the generation of entirely human hair follicles, ready for allogenic transplantation in humans.”

Make sure to read about the difference between autologous and allogenic. Stemson Therapeutics has licensed the above technology from Sanford Burnham.

Interview with Stemson CEO Geoff Hamilton

I have covered Stemson Therapeutics (San Diego, USA) and its founder Alexey Terskikh (see interview) since 2015. My last post on the company was updated in 2020 when they raised $7.5 million from Fortunis Capital and Allergan.

Since then, Stemson raised another $15 million in series A funding, courtesy of AbbVie (which acquired Allergan in 2020).

Geoff Hamilton

Stemson Therapeutics’ CEO is Geoff Hamilton. In July 2021, he  wrote an interesting post on Linkedin titled “Stemson Therapeutics is working to make hair loss a problem of the past.” It was interesting to read about the origin of the name “Stemson” (portmanteau of “Stem” and “Samson”).

Key section:

Per Mr. Hamilton, curing hair loss is inordinately complex and will involve a multi-disciplinary approach, including:

  • Cellular reprogramming.
  • Biomaterial engineering.
  • Tissue engineering.
  • Machine learning and analysis of biological data.
  • Robotic transplantation solutions.

In a recent article, Dr. Cenk Sumen (Stemson’s Chief Technology Officer) discussed other difficulties. He stated that companies such as Stemson that are working on induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) therapies face problems getting tailored equipment for automation.

Earlier today, San Diego based “Market Podcast” published an interview with Mr. Hamilton on YouTube. Thanks to reader “Jan Miedza” for notifying us and even posting the first comment to that video.

From the interview, it is clear that Stemson is still years away from getting a product to market. They are yet to even start human clinical trials. However, the company is professional, well funded and supported by biopharmaceutical industry behemoth AbbVie. They have hired world class scientists, bioengineers, bioinformaticians and more.

Moreover, Dr. Terskikh’s research has already been going on for over a decade (including in Russia). Also of note, Dr. Hamilton mentions several times how biotechnology and stem cell research today is significantly ahead of where it was just a decade ago. His company’s progress is benefitting from these recent technological advances.