I covered the at-the-time relatively new Sweden-based company called Follicum in April of last year. Thereafter, the company has made a few announcements via press releases that I have largely ignored since it was yet to commence any kind of phase 1 human clinical trials. And we all know how long those take, even after accounting for newer regulations in some countries that might eliminate or shorten the time for final phase 3 clinical trials.
However, last week Follicum finally announced that they had commenced phase 1 clinical trials of their FOL-005 product. This product can interestingly both inhibit hair as well as stimulate hair, although it seems like the company might be naming the hair stimulation product something else down the road, and it could be slightly different from FOL-005. According to Follicum, both the hair inhibition and hair stimulation products are based on “a large human protein which has been manipulated and modified.”
They currently have 1 patient on whom the drug is being tested upon, but aim to have a total of 30 patients soon. The study is being undertaken at the highly respected Charité — Universitätsmedizin Berlin that I have covered on this blog before. This makes me take Follicum a bit more seriously.
The company’s research on mice (undertaken by contract research organization Dabur Research Foundation in India) has suggested that this product will be significantly superior to Minoxidil when it comes to scalp hair growth.
Note that the current press release by the company only mentions testing FOL-005 for hair inhibition (important for those who suffer from excessive body hair, aka hirsutism), but I assume they will also be doing testing for hair stimulation with another similar product or the same product? I am not interested enough for the time being to ask the company about that important detail, but perhaps will do so after they come out with one more press release in the coming months. My intuition tells me that the hair stimulation product will have a different name and slightly different chemistry.
FYI — I was reluctant to write an entire post on Follicum, but changed my mind after a request on the hair loss chat on this site, and also because my monthly brief items of interest post is still over two weeks away (in which I planned to mention this development in one paragraph).