In 2021, I wrote a post on microRNA (miRNA) and hair growth. In there, I also discussed messenger RNA (mRNA). And now we have RNA interference (RNAi) as a hair loss treatment, thanks to OliX Pharmaceuticals (South Korea).
Update: November 22, 2022 — OliX just published preclinical research on its androgenetic alopecia treatment program, OLX104C. The results are very encouraging. Actual study is here and the researchers demonstrated:
“Efficacy of androgen receptor (AR) reduction, hair loss inhibition, and long duration of action in primary cultured human follicle dermal papilla cells (HFDPC) and rodent models of hair loss.”
They call this technology “cp-asiRNA targeting AR” and “AR-targeting asiRNA (cp-asiAR)”. The asiRNA stands for asymmetric small interfering RNA.
Update: May 27, 2022 — OliX just raised $45 million and their androgenetic alopecia product (OLX104C) will enter clinical trials later this year.
Update: August 2021 — OliX gets Notice of Allowance from US Patent and Trademark Office for OLX104C.
OliX Pharmaceuticals RNAi Hair Loss Product OLX104C
OliX Pharmaceuticals (South Korea) just made a major announcement. Their RNAi based hair loss product OLX104C successfully grew back hair in mice following just one single injection. The mice were suffering from androgenetic alopecia due to them being given excess dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
“We are advancing a novel and potentially durable approach to treating hair loss” — CEO Dong Ki Lee
In this preclinical study, OLX104C was administered topically to a mouse model via an injection. The before and after photos are amazing. Interestingly, they compare the results to the anti-androgen Flutamide.
More importantly, OliX is the real deal. Their news page is very impressive with regular significant developments. This includes raising $37.2 million in December 2020 (h/t reader “James”). They also received US FDA Phase 2a approval in November, 2020 to treat hypertrophic scars.
On OliX’s pipeline page, they state that small interfering RNA (siRNA) has limitations in terms of stability, delivery and toxicity. This is not a problem with RNAi therapeutics. Edit: Per the patent, they are using asymmetric siRNA to inhibit male pattern hair loss gene expression.
Update: OliX signs agreement with LGC Biosearch Technologies to accelerate production of asymmetric siRNA for the treatment of androgenic alopecia. Dr. Lee will present at today’s SMi’s 12th Annual RNA Therapeutics virtual conference. He will discuss OLX104C at this event. OliX plans to initiate clinical trials of OLX104C “by 2022”.
Update: January 2022 — A new South Korean company named siRNAgen Therapeutics (a subsidiary of Bioneer) is developing a SAMiRNA based hair loss product. SAMiRNA is a new type of siRNA nanoparticle that does not result in innate immune stimulation.
Update: March 2022 — Bioneer updates us on its new CosmeRNA product. Looks like they might launch it in South Korea and Germany (plus EU) this year.
“Cosmerna is the world’s first short-interfering RNA (siRNA) gene technology-based functional cosmetic for alleviating hair loss symptoms”.
Hundreds of millions of people around the world will take mRNA vaccines during the next several years. In effect, this will speed up scientific progress and cause many to not worry about long-term side effects. Perhaps a mistake, but I will selfishly not complain too much if it speeds up the realization of a hair loss cure.