Category Archives: Hair Cloning

HairClone (aka hairclone.me)

During the past few months, there have been a few new companies entering the hair regeneration sector, but none have impressed me and I have limited my coverage of all those companies to small sections within my once a month “brief items of interest” posts. Today, I learnt about yet another new entrant into the field named HairClone that I felt finally warranted its own post (albeit barely). I still have some serious doubts about this company (would be shocked if they come out with anything substantial in the next 5 years) and do not consider them anywhere near as important to us as the established entities such as the RIKEN/Kyocera/Tsuji partnership (Japan) or the Shiseido/Replicel partnership (Japan). I will briefly analyze this new company via positives and negatives:

Positives

  • The renowned and widely respected researcher Dr. Claire Higgins joined HairClone’s advisory board on August 30th (but alse read my comment on her in the “Negatives” section below).

  • HairClone will be hiring more scientific advisers besides Dr. Claire Higgins in the near future.  Would be great if they tried to get Dr. Roland Lauster into the team.
  • A recent Tweet suggests monthly update meetings with PhD students:

  • HairClone has devised a very unique and creative way to get funding (not necessarily a positive in many people’s minds) and that includes: crowdfunding; giving people who fund the company’s research preference when the actual treatment comes out; allowing investment in equity; offering leading hair transplant clinics around the world membership opportunities; and most interesting of all, hair follicle banking and storage.  On a somewhat related note, if you are having a baby, consider cord blood storage if you have the financial wherewithal.

Negatives

  • By far the biggest negative is that this is still way too early in the game and who knows when trials will commence, and whether the company will succeed with its dermal papilla focused cloning technology in the first place.  Or even if they manage to get sufficient funding.
  • Related to the above, when Solomon interviewed Dr. Claire Higgins earlier this year, she generally sounded pessimistic about new treatments and said the following about cloning (Update: Solomon corrected me in the comments and said she was only talking about cell injections here….but I think in general she sounded pessimistic about the hair cloning time frame in the whole interview):

“I think the future (but it’s not in 4 years or 5 years away, it’s like in 20 years) is to promote direct conversion of fibroblasts into papillae. But something like this will take decades. We don’t know how to do that yet.”

I am hoping that Dr Higgins will change her prediction to 10 years if her lab (only two years old at the time of the interview) and research work gets significantly more resources as a result of HairClone. Thankfully she said that she was not exactly sure about Dr. Tsuji’s work and neither did she list Shiseido’s trials in Japan in her list of ongoing trial examples, so maybe she is just entirely focused on her own work and not following others too much.  20 years would be too big a gamble to invest in a company such as HairClone, and I hope Dr. Bessam Farjo has other ideas and is hoping for much faster completion of clinical trials.  And of course he is probably not just relying on Dr. Higgins’ dermal papilla related work.

  • The company website has some typos, flow issues and seems somewhat haphazardly put together at the moment.  e.g., this page that should probably be removed and this page’s URL includes “hello-world” like in an intro to computer science programming assignment etc…

Lessons from Aderans’ and Intercytex’s Hair Multiplication Failures

All the great news this year related to hair loss research, trials and potential cures has made people (including myself) very optimistic. However, a lot of hair loss sufferers are becoming excessively passionate about a select few companies (especially Histogen and Replicel) or about the results from a select few clinical trials. I therefore decided to write this post as a warning from past experiences of putting too much faith into any one or two entities. Something as simple as lack of sufficient funding despite successful stage 2 clinical trials can cause a company to stop pursuing highly promising products.

In the mid-to-late 2000s, two companies named Aderans (Japan) and Intercytex (UK) caused tremendous excitement in all the online hair loss forums. Both were involved in groundbreaking research related to hair cloning and hair multiplication. Moreover, Aderans’ research was led by the renowned Dr. Ken Washenik through the Aderans Research Institute, and he made numerous presentations about their technology at various conferences.  Below are two of those:

However, in 2013, Aderans decided to liquidate its research institute.  Spencer Kobren had a segment about this on his usually weekly radio show:

Intercytex abandoned its work in 2010 due to financial difficulties, despite positive results from phase 1 trials. According to the company’s website, “the Intercytex name and ICX-RHY were purchased by private investors and relaunched as Intercytex Ltd in 2010”. ICX-RHY is a skin repair product.

As of 2014, Aderans’ research is focused on wigs and hair replacement (they purchased US-based hair restoration market leading companies Hair Club in 2013 and Bosley in 2001), while Intercytex’s research  is focused on products that tackle skin problems.