Category Archives: Takashi Tsuji

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.

Major Development — Kyocera Branches out from Electronics into Hair Regeneration

Update: RIKEN added a brief summary of this development on its site and included the below photo on its home page:

Kyocera, Tsuji and Organ Partnership


Update: Commentator “sets” e-mailed Kyocera and got a response:

“Hello. My name is Hina Morioka from the Corporate Communications Division at Kyocera Corporation. Thank you very much for your question about our research with RIKEN and Organ Technologies.

Regarding timeline, we aim to put the technologies into practical use and make medical treatment available in 2020 in Japan (medical treatment at one’s own expense).”

I was planning on publishing an entirely different post today, but things continue moving along rapidly in the hair loss research world and you regularly encounter sudden usually pleasant surprises.  In the last post, commentator “Lewa” just brought to my attention that major Japanese electronics manufacturer Kyocera was entering the hair regeneration market via a collaboration with the government-affiliated RIKEN Institute in Japan (where the renowned Dr. Takashi Tsuji leads the hair related research department) and Organ Technologies in Japan (a company in which Dr. Tsuji is one of the directors).  In that article, I read that they plan to commence clinical trials BY 2020, but that they also planned to start their business IN 2020.  They will develop prototype equipment by March 2018.  Very ambitious and rapid progression targets, but if it can be done anywhere, it would be in Japan where the government is very supportive of expediting research.  With the addition of Kyocera into the mix, Dr. Tsuji now has access to funding that all other hair researchers around the world can only dream of.  The only other hair loss cure research related company with this kind of funding access is also based in Japan in the name of Shiseido.

At first I was only intending to mention the above development in my once a month “brief items of interest” post.  However, then I discovered an even better version of the above article on Kyocera’s website. This second article is far less ambiguous when it comes to the dates and therefore this development deserves its own post now.  Key quotes from the above second article:

“The companies aim to put the technologies into practical use in 2020.”

“Kyocera, RIKEN and Organ Technologies plan to establish cell culture and transplant technologies and develop devices for transplantation, aiming to put the technologies into practical use for the treatment of human alopecia in 2020 in Japan.”

Update: Forbes magazine now has a story on this news too.
Update: A brief Japan Times summary.

The division of labor between the partner companies will be as follows:

Kyocera = Development of cell processing devices via the utilization of its microfabrication and manufacturing technologies.

RIKEN and Organ Technologies = “Development of stem cell culture/amplification technologies, development of cell manipulation technologies, establishment of production processes, implementation of preclinical studies, etc.”

The technology (“regenerated follicular primordium” via a combination of epithelial stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells) being developed is outlined in the bottom part of the below image taken from Kyocera’s press release.  Top image shows a modern day FUT (strip) hair transplant procedure with limited donor hair supply limitations.


Tsuji, RIKEN and Kyocera hair regeneration method