Category Archives: RCH-01

If Shiseido Decides to Do So

I used to cover Replicel (Canada) and its Japanese cosmetics behemoth partner Shiseido at least a few times per year until last year. At some point, I got skeptical about the RCH-01 autologous cell therapy hair loss product being released any time soon.

Shiseido LogoBesides typical delays, Replicel and Shiseido had some unclear conflicts regarding their partnership.

However, Replicel published two important updates this month, the second of which is of most interest to us:

Per the first link above, the disagreement regarding the agreement between Shiseido and Replicel remains unresolved. However, it is not subject to any litigation or arbitration at this time.

The key money quote is from the second link:

“While the Company’s RCH-01 product for hair loss due to androgenic alopecia may be launched in Japan much earlier if Shiseido decides to do so, current planning anticipates the potential for all four products to be on the market in Japan by 2022.”

The implication seems to be that:

  1. Shiseido could release the product well before 2022. See my past post on Shiseido’s new research facility in Kobe, Japan.
  2. Even if Shiseido does not release the product earlier, it will quite possibly get released in 2022 in Japan by Replicel.

See my past post on Japan’s new laws fast-tracking stem cell therapies and clinical trials.

Another key quote:

“Unlike anywhere else in the world, one well-designed cell therapy trial in Japan, approved by their regulatory authorities, has the potential to lead to product market launch.”

Replicel is clearly focusing on a “First-in-Japan” strategy due the country’s favorable regulatory environment. Shiseido has rights to the Asian market when it comes to RCH-01, but it seems like Replicel can still release the product in Japan in 2022 if Shiseido does not do so?

Hard to make this conclusion for certain without knowing much more about the two companies’ legal contract. In any case, this is a great development.

Further references:

Shiseido discusses Replicel technology in two videos.

Shiseido and Adenosine.

So its Shiseido/Replicel versus RIKEN/Tsuji in Kobe

Update: And in other important news from Japan from this week:

— Dr. Tsuji published a new paper several days ago.

— Pokemon Go was finally launched in Japan, its spiritual homeland.


Without any doubt, there has never been a better year than this one in the hair loss research world. The last four months have been especially fruitful, and I am not even considering a number of newer entrants in the field (just because most seem suspicious or are likely to produce best case results that will be akin to those from Rogaine). Key noteworthy recent developments:

  • First, in April, Follica (which had been left for dead by many due to its numerous conflicting signals since inception in 2006) surprised us and is clearly alive and aims to release its product in 2018 in a best case scenario. The company’s majority owner PureTech stated in a summary document that “skin disruption alone was safe and generates new follicles as well as new hair“.
  • Thereafter, in June, Aclaris Therapeutics’ CEO Mr. Neal Walker clearly stated at three difference investor presentation that “topical covalently bound highly selective JAK3 inhibitors” work in treating androgenetic alopecia and not just in treating alopecia areata. Alcaris will be conducting trials on this use of JAK inhibitors in 2017.
  • Also in June, Histogen made a surprising announcement that it would start treating patients in Mexico in 2018. Like Follica, many people had left Histogen for dead due to the fact that the company has been involved in hair loss research for a similarly lengthy period of time with mixed signals in terms of efficacy, clinical trial and product release dates.
  • Then, in July came perhaps the most exciting news ever in the hair loss cure research world. RIKEN/Dr. Takashi Tsuji, Kyocera and Organ Technologies have formed a partnership that aims to commercially release a product in 2020 that will essentially represent a cure for hair loss. 2020 is clearly a best case scenario assuming no major hiccups along the way. Mr. Tsuji is a world renowned and extremely well respected and modest scientist; RIKEN has access to Japanese government funds and to numerous leading scientists in the world of regenerative medicine; Kyocera is a private sector multinational behemoth with pre-existing hardware side technology and expertise that will likely be of much use to Dr. Tsuji.
  • And finally, today the Shiseido/Replicel team finally announced the commencement of delayed clinical trials in Japan (see bottom part of this post).

RIKEN and Dr. Tsuji are conducting their research at the Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster (KBIC) in Japan in RIKEN’s Integrated Innovation Building.

File:RIKEN Integrated Innovation Building.JPG

Shiseido/Replicel Joins Kyocera/RIKEN/ Tsuji at the KBIC

Today, in yet one more major positive development this year, it was announced that the Shiseido/Replicel team has finally started its delayed 60-person (men and women included) Japanese clinical trials for its autologous cell therapy based RCH-01 product.

Riken Kobe Business CenterWhile the study will be conducted at two hospitals in Tokyo, the injected product(s) will be manufactured by Shiseido at their SPEC (Cell-Processing and Expansion Center) in KBIC. I discussed this facility in a post in 2014. It is located in the Business Support Center for Biomedical Research Activities (BMA) building in KBIC.

So Shiseido and RIKEN’s respective research and development work will be conducted at buildings within a mile of each other!! 

I arrived at this conclusion after analyzing this map (both buildings are on the right side of the railroad).

While doing research on KBIC, I found that it is located on Port Island in the city of Kobe, and Port Island is an artificially constructed island. Would be quite something if humans end up creating new replacement hair follicles on a man-made island.