Interview with Dr. Alexey Terskikh

I first mentioned Dr. Alexey Terskikh on this blog a little over two years ago here. His team of scientists (who work at a non-profit institute in the USA) used pluripotent stem cells from humans to create dermal papilla type cells that were then injected into hairless mice. Lo and behold, these mice then  started to grow human hair and at the time this major development was widely covered in the media. I e-mailed Dr. Terskikh for an interview about a year ago, but never got a response (turns out he never saw the e-mail until very recently). However, thanks to commentator “sets” and his now several months of persistence in acting as an intermediary between myself and Dr. Terskikh, I was finally able to get the doctor to answer our questions. Note that 90 percent of the below questions were extracted from blog reader comments and questions to this post from a few weeks ago.

Before I proceed with the interview, special thanks to Dr. Terskikh for answering every single question below, including some in great technical detail. If any of the readers of this blog have ideas on how to raise funding for Dr. Terskikh, please post them in the comments or e-mail me and I will forward the responses on to him. Also make sure to read his responses to several reader questions about fundraising in the bottom half of the below interview.


HLC2020: On Twitter you previously mentioned the need to raise $3 million to $5 million in order to proceed. However, just to start and finish pre-clinical trials and then move on to clinical trials, you need $1 million per your recent e-mail to me. So does this mean you need $1 million asap, and then another $2-4 million over the next several years for a maximum potential total of $5 million?

Dr. Terskikh: That’s correct. $1M should cover immediate research and developments in the laboratory (like optimizing transplantation into the human skin grafts) and bring us to the next stage. For instance, we will need to derive from iPSCs and integrate into our protocol autologous human keratinocytes from the same patient. Although much has been done in this field it’s still a challenge.

HLC2020: Assuming you are able to raise funds quickly, what kind of time frame would you think is needed to finish pre-clinical trials? To start stage 1 trials (is it possible in 2017)? And to finish all 3 stages of clinical trials? And do you think that new favorable US government regulations will help speed up stage 3 trials? Since you are using a patient’s own stem cells, does that mean that pre-clinical and stage 1 trials can get completed faster than usual due to no major issues with safety and side effects?

Dr. Terskikh: It all depends on the success of our human skin grafting experiments and safety tests. The safety is critical for FDA approval of clinical tests.

HLC2020: So because of lack of funding, no new progress has been achieved in your hair related research during the past 2 years? If that is not true, can you please summarize your team’s new advances since 2015?

Dr. Terskikh: We made some progress mainly academic research with some funds that were available to us. One important development is our ability to derive DP cells from subject specific iPSCs (original publication was using ES cells). We have also started transplanting DP cells into human skin patches grafted on the back of immunodeficient mice. In addition, we are wrapping up a very exciting study investigating the heterogeneity of individual human dermal capsules. So we’ve done a lot of cool experiments, the problem being we need to do much more to scale up the volume and to accelerate the pace of development.

HLC2020: How is hair loss research progress in Russia (both from your team as well as from others)? In my page on MAJOR hair loss research centers around the world (see here –>, I have nothing in Russia at present, which is probably incorrect!

Dr. Terskikh: The team formerly led by my father (now led by Prof. Vorotelyak) is moving parallel with us and we keep collaborating on characterization of human DP cells in vitro and in vivo.

HLC2020: Will you keep using iPS cells, or do you plan to also use embryonic stem cells in future? Note that several blog readers thought that you are currently using embryonic stem cells and I assume that is not true? (Edit: I think I was mistaken and initially they did use embryonic stem cells — see earlier highlighted red text).

Dr. Terskikh: The future procedures will be based on autologous cells. Patient’s own cells (say couple of hairs, tiny piece of skin, or 1ml of blood) is reprogrammed to iPSCs. These iPSCs are banked and kept forever in liquid Nitrogen. An aliquot of iPSCs is used to differentiate these cells into DP cells and keratinocytes. In the future other cells like melanocytes will be obtained as well so one can have hair of any color.. )) Then DP cells will be mixed with keratinocytes within specialized matrix scaffold and transplanted back into the same patient’s skin. This will be done for each patient.

HLC2020: Do the DPs that you have created show similar gene expression to ordinary, healthy DPs? Do they maintain the gene expression when multiplied by 3 orders of magnitude (I think that means 3 hair follicle cycles)?

Dr. Terskikh: Currently there are no methods to amplify DP cells in the dish. They loose the hair induction properties after couple of passages. This is precisely the problem. That’s why we don’t amplify DP cells in the dish. We amplify iPSCs cells, which could grow in the dish almost indefinitely. Then the “buckets” of iPSCs cells are converted to the “buckets” of DP cells that are needed for transplantation.

HLC2020: In what form/structure do you plan to introduce the cells into the skin?

Dr. Terskikh: Aggregated within macro-scaffold. We’re trying several options. The scaffolds will be biodegradable so they will dissolve with time.

HLC2020: Was it possible for you to grow hair on a human skin graft or only in mice?

Dr. Terskikh: Yes, that’s precisely what we are doing.

HLC2020: How does one donate specifically for your hair regeneration research?

Dr. Terskikh: One can donate directly by contacting me or though the Sanford Burnham Prebys (SBP) web site. The best idea will be to organize a clever crowdsourcing campaign. This seems to be the perfect opportunity. The incentive – a discount for a hair regeneration procedure once its working. If anybody could help with this one, I’d seriously appreciate.

HLC2020: Are you aware of the other major hair multiplication or cloning related companies out there such as Tsuji/Riken, Shiseido, Hairclone and TissUse? If so, how does your method compare and what might possibly make it a superior option scientifically and commercially?

Dr. Terskikh: Sure. None of them are using iPSC-derived DP cells, but instead are focused on amplifying the existing DP cells. Different approach. I think our is more general.

HLC2020: Where do you plan to begin clinical trials? Do you plan to take advantage of countries with more lenient stem cell laws like Japan and the USA’s 21st Century Cures Act?

Dr. Terskikh: All depends on the progress in the lab and money funding.

HLC2020: What aspects of hair growth do you believe you will be able to control? Shaft thickness, direction, etc.?

Dr. Terskikh: Should be able to control all aspects. The shaft thickness (also hair length) is directly proportional to the number of DP cells in the DP capsule. We can transplant any number of cells we want.

HLC2020: What are the scientific hurdles you currently face and how do you plan to solve them?

Dr. Terskikh: There are many hurdles to overcome. The purity of DP cells is one important issue. At present we use a heterogeneous mixture of cells some of which are DP and some may not be DP cells. we are working on couple of strategies to enriched purify DP cells based on surface markers and antibodies.

HLC2020: How do you plan to administer the treatment? A proprietary device?

Dr. Terskikh: Initially this will be done manually by the doctors. Eventually, we are discussing the development of biomedical robotic machines that will be doing the transplantation automatically.

HLC2020: Have you settled on a company name, CEO, etc?

Dr. Terskikh: Almost. A very gifted individual with great success track records is willing to take on this business. Need money to move forward.

HLC2020: Does your method work on guard hair and primary hair? Since AGA occurs in guard hair first followed finally by the miniaturization of terminal hair. (FYI — I do not understand what “guard hair” means so please ignore this reader question if you do not know either)!

Dr. Terskikh: Guard hair could be distinguished in animals – the top layer consisting of longer, generally coarser, nearly straight shafts of hair that protrude through the down hair layer. Not sure about humans…

HLC2020: Does your method induce de-novo induction of follicular units, not just individual hair follicles?

Dr. Terskikh: Yes. We induce individual de novo (new) hair follicles.

HLC2020: Are you actively seeking venture capital? How successful have you been in attracting capital so far?

Dr. Terskikh: We seeking all kind of capitals. So far we got some funds from a company, which decided not to follow through due to their own financial problems. We have several individuals and funding bodies in various stages of discussion.

HLC2020: Given the competition claims to be @ market by 2018 2019 2020 Have you considered merging or selling out IP to corporations who can move the technology forward?

Dr. Terskikh: Personally, I don’t see anything to be on the market by 2018 or 2019. We are not planning to selling or merging at this point.

HLC2020: Do you have a strategy to propel this technology to be @ market before or during 2020?

Dr. Terskikh: As I pointed out earlier – all depends on funding. In principle, we might be able to deliver a product by 2020 given sufficient funding.

HLC2020: If this technology did arrive to market can the company scale up on demand or will it be a slow process that will take years to decades to scale? How many people can be treated per clinic via your technique?

Dr. Terskikh: We’re discussing the logistics. The process for each individual will take 3-4 month. The good news is that once we make and bank iPSCs, additional transplantations are unlimited and could be done within 1-2 month. I think we can also have a model where all additional transplantations are free or at minimal cost.

HLC2020: Is this a one-time treatment for patients, or a lifelong commitment requiring X number of visits per year?

Dr. Terskikh: Good question. Initial success is usually last for several years, but due to the ongoing loss the transplantation procedures is likely to be repeated every 5-10 years. That’s where we get the best edge. See above.

HLC2020: Few in the medical field are concerned with developing a treatment for the various alopecias despite an age of incredible advancements in science, medicine and technology with increasing focus on mental health. Baldness is a subject of ridicule and prejudice in society with its patients left to suffer in silence; seen as vain and narcissistic for even considering treating the problem, but at once shamed for their balding. It is especially traumatic for young patients. What are your personal thoughts on the subject in general, societal attitudes toward alopecia and how do they affect your motivations to bring an effective solution to the world?

Dr. Terskikh: Some of my friends are bald and happy. Some less happy. You can be bald and bold and happy and successful. You can have full head of hair and be measurable. Personally, my front hair is thinning a bit and I do want to get back my look of 20 years old.

Given the option I think most people wouldn’t mind hair. I’m almost confident for the gentlemen in the picture attached…

Edit: He attached a picture of the famously balding prince William:-)



126 thoughts on “Interview with Dr. Alexey Terskikh”

  1. When he says follow up procedures every 5-10 years is he referring to the inevitable loss of your original hair or is he saying the hair they implant will also fall out?

  2. His research sounds very good and I wish there was not a funding issue.

    If one of these Billionaire tightwads would just give 1 billion to hair research and they were to treat it as if there were a War on Hair Treatment (find cure ASAP). We probably would have 3 different treatments within 3 years. But no, all the billionaires are too busy trying to rack up more billions.

    Most of the time it feels like there is absolutely no hope. My only hope is for JAK and then they also have to make it cheaper, much cheaper. If JAK happens (its already in pre-clinical) we could have something in just a couple of years.

    That’s why I have lost hope for everything but JAK.

  3. Wish I could ask him about something Paul Kemp of HairClone said about IPSC cells on

    “Studies have found that even autologous iPS cells raise an immune response for reasons that are not understood and the first human clinical study with iPS cells was stopped after one patient was treated because there was some genomic changes to the cells. The regulatory situation around iPS cells is unclear and people are being very cautious. I think it will be many years before they are comfortable enough with the technology to allow it to be used it what they would consider to be “cosmetic” indications.”

  4. It’s always the money holding a cure or a proper treatment back. what a shame ! especially when knowing that the reward is much greater than the expenses.

  5. @admin, once again thank you for everything you do on this blog.
    Regarding this interview – interesting read, but seems like a baldness research story I’ve read hundred times before. Lack of funding, success with mouse, treatment 5+ years. The method and technical details varies, but same old story as always.

  6. Well the interview shows the guy himself is not that interested.. Why would any one will come forward… God help us…

    1. I though he was very interested…but funding is a big problem since Sanford Burnham is a non-profit.

      Even in one of the original articles from 2 years ago, at the bottom they mentioned that they were looking for potential partners/investors.

  7. Hopefully if they get a talented CEO he/she will be able to sort out the funding issues. Scientists aren’t always the best business people so a strong partnership is needed. Hope this goes somewhere!

  8. While crowdfunding might be an interesting option to get extra funding for these companies, I don’t think regular people who are dealing with hair loss/bald spots for years and who need a solution right now, will invest $1.000/€1.000, and wait for 5 years to finally hand in their coupon when the treatment has come to market.

    People need hair now, and therefore need the money this or next year to get a HT or a treatment that will be released 2017/2018. People like Bill Gates, who started balding much later in life, don’t even invest in this kind of research, because they think everything in life is more important than solving AGA. How is it possible to ask that (investing) from younger and poorer folks like us …

    These companies should understand we face challenges as well. They are called Financial Planning and Time Planning. As long as they are not giving any decent estimated release date and price, we can’t plan anything properly!

    – When did my AGA start?
    – How fast is my balding process?
    – How much time have I left before it is really noticable?
    – How much (mostly useless) drugs can I afford now to keep the hair as long as possible?
    – How long am I already suffering from side effects of these drugs, how long will I be able to handle these side effects?
    – How many months/years am I able to save money to finally get a another treatment or transplant?
    – How fast can I get this treatment / transplant, how long will the waiting list be for these surgeons/doctors?
    – What treatment will be out first, will it be the right one for me, should I wait for the competitors?
    – Should I get a HT first and wait for the treatments to be on the market for 2 years?
    – Should I wait with the HT, so that I can use a scarless treatment later?
    – Should I wait with the HT, save a little more money, and go for an even better HT surgeon next year?
    – For how long should I stay on the drugs I use now, if I get a treatment this/next year?
    – How many grafts will I need, how much money will I need?
    – Which area should be treated/transplanted first, how many sessions are needed?
    – Do I need to travel to another continent to get this treatment/HT, which documents do I need to get there and stay there?
    – How much will these travel/hotel costs be?
    – When do I plan this HT/treatment during my career, should I do it during the holiday season, or go for a sabbatical?
    – How many times do I have to go back for follow-ups or checks?
    – When will I get back to work, without the entire firm noticing I got a HT/treatment?

    People with work, have money, but no time
    People without work, have time, but no money

    Just release something and give us the opportunity to plan our lives! I think a lot of us have enough money to get a treatment, especially when people are balding (and saving) for years or even decades. However, it is still money you normally (without AGA) would use to e.g. repay your mortgage faster.

  9. Baldings had the best comment.

    There were like 4 or 5 questions in that interview that were mine thanks admin.

    I like how everyone is realizing how bad money is… but if you think about it he could easily sell out the cure (presumably ) and move to market ASAP for the bennifit of mankind.. fund raising is only a problem to enrich himself. Not to sound catty but it’s the dark truth here.

    Good luck to him regardless I’d give him 5 million if I owned 6.

  10. I, for one, am becoming disenchanted with and shorter and shorter on sympathy for the “hairloss community” and the lack of interest that was shown in gathering questions for this interview and responses thus far to the interview are a perfect demonstration why.

    Nothing will ever be good enough.

    • “We want something in the pipeline!”

    Now, we have lots of things in the pipeline and every armchair scientist scrambles to take a dump on the Doctors’ research, accuse it of being a scam or conspiracy; apparently, they’re ALL criminals lying to the FDA but Bob from Illinois knows better and totally understands what is or isn’t a possible release timeline.

    Oh, also; I don’t want to have to travel or get surgery or pay more than a bottle of Finasteride.

    • “We want pictures!”

    They get pictures and look for the most innocuous of things for an opportunity to scream “FAKE!!!” at it.

    and then, when a Doctor takes the time to discuss the path to commercializing his internationally recognized, ground-breaking research, little interest is shown and here comes balding incel #43,521, who hasn’t achieved anything remotely close to these doctors, declaring that “they have nothing”.

    Where will I inevitably find these people?

    In the impact subforum on HLT, crying that women who never found them attractive to begin with (still) won’t find them attractive without hair and they’d give ANYTHING for hair!

    But they’ve never taken and won’t take Fin because they believe all the (mostly) BS horror stories, won’t get a transplant and certainly won’t wear a hair piece. Then, they mosey on down to the New Research forum to cry that the cure is never coming.

    Between the “Just shave it, bro” morons and ungrateful, entitled bald guys, it’s easy to see why investors and so many in the medical field think it’s a joke.

    You like being bald and miserable, so just stay that way — you’re part of the problem, not the solution.

    1. I found HLT to be toxic in terms of the Upcoming Treatment section but then again there’s so much criticism that the treatments didn’t make a Norwood 7 a Norwood 1 again and there’s people saying nothing will come out just so they can sell drugs or hair transplants no matter if they’re informed or uninformed.. The negativity gets really old after a while. It’s as if people really don’t want a new treatment.

      I used to be part of it a decade ago and nothing has really changed. Also, I couldn’t afford Fin at that time due to college and paying bills.

      1. Some people truly don’t want a new treatment because then they won’t be able to blame every inconvenience in their life on hairloss.

        I’ve also learned that you cannot really trust anyone in online hairloss communities, unfortunately; a lot of people have ulterior motives that they mask with what looks like run-of-the-mill pessimism.

        I used to think it was just some conspiracy in my head that the bizarre “cheerleading” some posters have for X company and irrational opposition to Y meant that they had some personal stake in it, but there have been more and more people lately admitting they’re an investor in a particular company — You can’t trust anyone.

        1. Sorry it took so long to reply to your message but I agree with you on your last paragraph. Also, I remember when Histogen showed that one photo of regrowth, people picked on the dumbest things.

          There are some users who came from various boards to HLT and here who were pretty much trashing anything that wasn’t their preferred product to come out and being very arrogant about it.

          I think you probably know who they are. It seems like some of them are rooting for Tsuji and completely trashing other products. I don’t know much, but I’ll stick with Follica because it can help me more than Tsuji.

          The pessimism I see really annoys me and to be honest, I think these people who preach it really want balding people to suffer. All I want is a good treatment and to look younger.

          I’ve seen it before on the forums a decade ago as well. Similiar people were trying to sell hair transplants when Aderans and Intercytex were doing trials. They were confident it would not challenge their jobs.

          To be honest, I wish I had more money so I could’ve gotten on Fin in my 20’s. I’m pretty much a Norwood 4 on the way to 5. I have to make up for this by working hard and taking care of myself mentally and physically. It took me about 18 years to get from a Norwood 2 to a Norwood 4/5.

  11. 3 orders of magnitude = x10^3 admin :p
    Thanks for the interview this guy is in my “top 5” now. Lots of promising treatments

  12. follica is our closer target of hope . please god give us the cure we are desperate . sorry admin but i think u want as me this blog stop e ist or start speaking for consilers or sampoo for long hair

    1. Yes you’re right, Follica is our nearest new treatment for sure… Let’s hope it will be all it had promised to be back in 2008, almost ten years ago, if it is, we’re saved !!!

  13. Dont want to sound negative, but do you guys really think if that was sound he coudnt find few milion $ in such hot market as biotech Lol its probably so far away from commercialization, so many hurdles along the way its not even worth trying

  14. he should catch the interest of andrey melnichenko, one of russia’s top billionaires. that guy has hair loss issues himself and is not really happy about it since he underwent hair transplant, which is not looking very decent. for facts he bought himself a yacht worth 400 Mio US Dollars. i dont get why ultra rich guys like this with hairloss problems dont fund shit, since they arent happy with their own situation obviously. look him up on google and you’ll get my point

        1. Yeah that’s why I asked alexey Have you considered merging or selling out IP to corporations who can move the technology forward?

          Matter of fact the only four financial questions in this interview were all mine I would intermediate immediately I think it’s a great ideA. I am still kind of annoyed with thorn but yes it’s true they spent all that money okyanos ceo emailed me about their involvement a few months ago.

          It appears alexey is only interested in commercializing his own IP solo though

  15. @admin Just wondering, but why do you think hair loss news has slowed down? Looking at your global research page, it seems that there is an abundant amount of research taking place around the world yet we are only hearing occasional updates from typical suspects. What’s going on? You have a lot of posts from a few years ago with people doing research but no update on them.

  16. I forgot about this alex guy. Good interview and I like how isn’t fluffing it up like other hair loss researchers. Sad thing is he is years away from anything hitting the market. Our closest hope for hair cloning is tsuji. I’m praying follica works wonders for us and a new topical like SM gets released in the next 2 years so that it can hold us till a cure like tsuji gets released in 2020s

    1. These guys and people like hairclone are offering discounts and first dibs on the treatment for people who help them out in funding their research. That’s what’s got me interested. I like Tsuji I’m confident about the 2020 timeline but even if we finally have the cure how do we know the availability for us? They’ve got their funding so no trying to get in line now. When he’s done who knows how long it’s going to take to get an appt. In my opinion for sure not the first 2-3 years those will be all Japanese residents. That’s not even talking about the money and both of these things have been addressed by people like Hairclone and Alex.

      1. Also after the germs have sprouted in 3 or 4 months you may need a touch up which will be another trip to Japan unless you chill over there for awhile.

  17. Wish I had money to start a company.. Which will be more focused on a permanent cosmetic solution… Rather than wasting time on genetics

    1. Exactly Farhan.. well said! This will be the only cure. Tranplants have become so good these days. Find a way to provide unlimited donor and the problem is solved. Farhan for president :)

  18. The cures Jak. My gut is 100% on it. So when its completely confirmed i’ll be happy. I’m also betting everyone on here will still be morbid “ugh but I have to apply it daily?” People moan about anything for the sake of it.

  19. I doubt jak is a cure. If it was they would fast track the sht out of it through trials and not put in the back burner Iike how they have it now. Sadly our situation is a joke to society, that’s why we have the weak progress in new treatments and stuck with Rogaine and Propecia and tons of snake oils. That’s the reality. If it’s something that really works they will be on it faster than anything. That’s why I have hope for follica SM. They seem to be pushing hard. As well as tsuji.

  20. Not sure why but I’ve never been so depressed/pessimistic about the future of hair loss. I used to think better treatment was around the corner, but news has been slowing down and the players we usually get updates from have been delaying everything.

    Even if Tsuji is able to free us by 2020, how long will it take to scale so us regular people can get it?

  21. you know guys what i think as a supply chain employee in one of the big pharmas….
    it is never about money.. NEVER EVER… please everyone mark my words. money is never discussion… I know for fact that big pharma is spending almost 30-40% of their revenue into R&D. so if you have making 50B then its 15-20B annual. and you are talking about 1M USD… it is like a joke!!!!

    I firmly believe that his proof of concept has some certain limitations which will block his research come to fruition.

    Fin was introduced by Merck almost 20 years ago. Don’t you think they would be slightly interested if this guy’s research is promising?

    And dont tell me they are happy with sales because there are tons of generic fin available on the market… patents are expiring. believe it or not market share is shrinking like crazy. so big pharma is desperate for better treatments or cures..

    and also dont tell me about they dont want to release a cure, because this is also not true. Can you image how much Billions you gonna make if you are the first one? it is also about MONEY..

    again tell me one good reason why Merck doesnt want to fund his research? It is all about collaboration and big companies like Merck has maybe over 100-200 collaborations all over the world. they can easily splash few millions into it….

    1. There are a number of flaws with you’re theory: Mainly the idea that Merck in particular should or would be interested in this guys research, specifically.

      If that were true, why hasn’t Merck been funding or actively R&Ding new products for hairloss in over 20 years? Despite expiring patents and steadily declining sales?

      It’s because Merck doesn’t care about hairloss and Propecia is largely a failure. SOMEONE at Merck 20 years ago saw Finasteride as an opportunity to make unending billions; it’s a pill that, logically, every man in the Western world should be taking, but the overwhelming majority are unaware it even exists and internet hypochondriacs scare potential patients away.

      The main reason there hasn’t been a good alternative since fin is because society at large and the medical community mostly see baldness as a joke, investors see it as a waste of time and money and there is a cell culturing problem to be overcome along with controversy surrounding IPSCs to boot.

      All but a few of these companies currently developing treatments are a handful of doctors (probably mocked for researching hairloss to begin with) who have their own startups; companies that require private investors and need millions of $ to move through trials. The SECOND these investors think it’s not going as they hoped, the money stops flowing and the startup is finished.

      It’s why Tsuji, Follica and maybe L’Oreal and a couple others are most likely to succeed, as I see it — these companies no longer need to rely on 3rd-party funds.

      1. I don’t think fin is largely a failure. I stopped taking it when I was 20/21. Took it starting at 16. I’m 7 years not being on it now and it is incredibly noticible. I’ve advanced 3 to 4 norwoods. It’s the choice I was willing to make though. Because I didn’t want to mess with my hormones any more. No doubt I would have a much much much fuller head of hair right now had I continued to stay on it.

        I just didn’t think the long term side effects were worth it. That and I still truly believe that a “cure” is not that far away.

  22. I think this blog is the child’s game of telephone. Donitello it’s not that big pharmacy is holding back from Alexey.. 1 they don’t even know he exist. 2. He wouldn’t take their money according to this interview on THIS page he says he’s not interested in selling out or auctioning his IP

    Maverick readers we have here

  23. @egghead: i understand your comment. but lets all be realistic if Merck or GSK wants to buy you, he indeed will. money is not an object to them if they believe in it.

    Yes big pharmas are desperate for better treatments and cures. Do you know in most countries if a medicine has generic version, the government forces you to buy the generic. That is why Big pharmas are in desperate need for cures. please have a look at regulations per country… trust me all this info is true and recent.

    @That guy: regarding your question: If that were true, why hasn’t Merck been funding or actively R&Ding new products for hairloss in over 20 years? Despite expiring patents and steadily declining sales? My answer: how sure are you that they are not working on better treatment or cure? They are all doing their stuff behind closed doors. even myself i dont know what my company does in R&D.. no one knows.. just the ones going through clinical trials.. no one knows what is cooking in the background.
    Your question: It’s because Merck doesn’t care about hairloss and Propecia is largely a failure. My answer: by writing this statement i truly believe you are joking now… You run a business where almost 30B dollars are pouring into R&D for ANY type of better treatment or cure. yet you still say they dont care about hairloss?

    Let me tell you this mate.. all big companies whether its pharma or not have significant pressure from their shareholders. So they can NOT promise something above 3-5 years. if you want to survive in this world, in this economy, you have to take EVERY PENNY into account. I think a guy on your level should not say they dont care about hairloss rather they probably tried everything but there is just NO WAY out, no plausible solution for a cure… why dont we just accept this fact for now?

    do you know the world’s biggest online retailer? Amazon.. and do you know their business model? low margin high profit.. they are probably making 1 dollar profit from each order u make. just food for thought…

    Pharma companies are mostly paid well, so these R&D guys on hairloss section at Merck, they all have mercedes underneath, earning 150-200K USD annual. But Merck management is just fine with them splashing money around because they dont care about hairloss? Dont get me wrong, I am not working at Merck but I am pretty sure either those guys were working heavily in the background to find something very soon or they are all fired because there is basically no cure for baldness in the next 5- 10 years…

    1. Sorry man, but all you’re saying is nothing more than rampant (and biased) speculation and logically inconsistent reasoning that comes from an overestimation of your own knowledge given your area of work, which you admit is not for Merck.

      You still haven’t explained why Merck, specifically, should or would buyout research or fund 3rd parties for hairloss treatments. Your reasoning for them not doing so is because “it doesn’t work”. You have absolutely zero proof of this. I could apply this logic to any other thing in development: “X company isn’t funding non-big pharma research, therefore this Alzheimer’s drug in clinical trials must be useless”.

      If you can’t see the enormous flaw in this reasoning, then any conversation is lost on you.

      Second, you say that you don’t work for Merck and don’t actually know what’s going on…but at the same time, you claim they’re spending X amount of dollars on R&D and that if the guys don’t find a better treatment within 3-5 years, they’ll all be fired “because shareholders.”

      If that were true, those scientists should’ve been fired 15 years ago. Again I ask you: Where are the patents they’ve filed since Propecia? Where is their published research regarding breakthroughs in alopecia their round-the-clock team has found? Why haven’t they funded or bought ANY company working on a new treatment for hairloss thus far? I’m also not sure if you’re aware, but Propecia is the only hairloss drug Merck makes; hairloss isn’t their specialty.

      I can find nothing on these subjects, but I do know that sales of Propecia are stagnating and dropping tremendously.

      It was last highest in 2010, when the sales stagnated at $447 Million. That is NOTHING for the “wonder drug” that would net billions annually that was supposed to be Propecia. Again, this is a drug that logically, every man in the Western world should be taking to stop his hairloss, but most aren’t even aware of (generic) Propecia’s existence.

      If you cannot link me info demonstrating that Merck is the go-to company for funding and developing hairloss products, that Riken, Follica, etc. will fail because Merck doesn’t back them, etc., then I’m afraid you need to change your position on the matter, my friend.

      “I am pretty sure either those guys were working heavily in the background to find something very soon or they are all fired because there is basically no cure for baldness in the next 5- 10 years…”

      So it’s only Merck & Co. and their scientists who could possibly bring the world a baldness cure? If you read any of the hype from when Propecia was first coming out, it’s pretty clear that Merck thought this was game over for hairloss.

      Curious that someone in big pharma believes that there’s no better solutions to baldness on the horizon because “big pharma” isn’t involved in its development. Like I said — you can’t trust anyone in the online hairloss discussion.

      1. in all honesty guys, a CURE will come from a university or a guy with a mission, Big pharma won’t even work on the problem of drug/antibiotic-resistant bacteria which is making what used to be treatable almost non-treatable and could cause major problems. The reason, because it is a ONE TIME fix and they like it when they can pump out a drug you need to keep coming back for. Most drug companies are run by people who couldn’t care less about people, unless you are their shareholders. I like Asia, they work hard and with a purpose. I also like Brotzu for the above reasons as well. A cure will never come out of a big drug company. This is not conspiracy theory stuff, this is fact.

        1. I like how you said it, “a guy with a mission”, many of us are already doing our own research on the matter, MPB like eczema can be a vicious, isolating disease. I myself am in the early stage of MPB but the itching/burning is killing me. If only my hair would go out quietly instead of burning my scalp every damn day.

          We should create own platform and initiate action instead of crying on online forums and relying on Big Pharma. who have their own agendas.

          Thanks for the admin for keeping us updated.

  24. Well I’m about to shave my head. It’s over . Thanks for keeping this blog up and giving me hope I almost wish I would have tried mjones Greek kitchen sink guy approach considering I can’t use minox or fin but I can’t read or und er r stand it . Gluck everyone

      1. It might sound depressing but he’s right. I’m about to give up the dream myself.

        Just sick of waiting. I’ve been NW6 since 24 and at 31 I have almost given up hope now.

        I remember at 24 thinking “Oh never mind, it’s 2010, there’ll be a cure in 2014-2015 surely, so I will enjoy all my 30’s with my hair again at least!”

        Here I am, already 31, and nothing is on the horizon. They can do everything else seemingly – even cancer will soon be decimated. But growing some ****ING hair on a scalp, that seems to be prevalent in every other ****ING man but me?! No, that impossibility seems beyond our best and brightest minds!

        1. This is the nihilsm I and that other dude were talking about.

          There has never been a time in history where as many things were on the horizon as now. To say that nothing is on the horizon is simply dishonest.

          If you are a high NW and out of your 20s, get a high quality hairpiece and move on until superior treatments and next-gen transplants come to market.

          Frankly, it’s what most people 30+ should have done a long time ago.

          1. I will never wear a wig. They’re pathetic. Same as that new Quiff-Co garbage. Same as combovers and other awfulness.

            I want a full permanent cure that grants the buyer a full, thick, perfectly-hairlined head of hair. Until that happens, I will never be truly happy again.

  25. With any of these potential cures can you redesign the prior hairline? Even to better than what would be a Norwood 0 for yourself? I ask because even with a Norwood 0 I have a high forehead and would be curious about sculpting that lower.

    1. @Billyzane

      Yes. This would be possible with hair cloning procedures like (Tsuji’s treatment, tissuse, hairclone etc). that are expected to be released in the early-to-mid 2020s.

  26. Egghead…greek guy approach looks promising. Follica will be something similar. Hang tight bro..just a year away for cots

    1. thx mjones, I haven’t lost hope – follica and histogen are a year awayish. i have a hot gf i’m doin just fine emotionally thanks yodi

  27. @That guy: do u know why Merck is not working anymore on hairloss is because of lawsuits they had. this is the worst fear a big pharma could have.. u introduced a drug and side effects are making it impossible to use. and thats probably why all big pharma’s are passively involved in hairloss market. not because they dont care.
    just search how many lawsuits Merck has had since they introduced this magic drug? if it were up to them, they would probably have gone back in time and never introduced this drug. they are not making any money just losing reputation and alot of lawsuits saying i lost my manhood.

    and i never said Riken or others will fail. if severe sides show im pretty damn sure all clinics, pharma will stop ASAP… but you all start counting your eggs before they hatched.
    if i remember correctly there was hedgehog treatment where you could restore all of your hair back but caused with death or something.

    again the problem is not fixing hairloss… it is fixing it without altering your hormones or giving severe sides. if yo all desperate for hair, look at transgender photos and how they restored their hair….

    my reasoning is as follows. we have a term in pharma, medicine is a drug that goes under your skin directly flow into your blood and interact with molecules.
    from what I understand hairloss can not be fixed with medicine because it has nothing to do with molecules. it is like cancer.

    to those who dont understand my point, it is like you have Windows operating system but giving you windows failed to load error. you have to reinstall windows = changing your DNA which is impossible with current technology.
    medicines can only fix you if your windows is up and running. its like install, uninstall programs, deleting folders… but u gotta have your windows files correct which is your DNA.

    in other words, to my humble opinion no medicine can fix MPB.. not jak or any other…
    hair multiplication techniques are of course out of my scope. they can be cure sure… im just saying dont expect a magic pill or injection that goes into your blood and fix it.

    to those who will say, some people cure cancer with medicines: also look amazing photos from propecia , people with hull head of hairs. again human body works in mysterious ways.. but this is all just exception maybe one in hundred or thousands.. 999/1000 of patients still dying from cancer….

  28. Hmmm thats quite disappointing….

    Does not seem to do much at least as it was.

    Terminal hair declined? Slight vellus increase?

  29. @Hairplz: Yes,

    1. No serious side effects were reported. Awesome.
    2. The results siggested that SM04554 may be the FIRST treatment causing follicular neogensis
    3. Potential treatment for MPB/AGA. Is in Phase 3.

    Do you understand? Ok.

    1. Yes good point perhaps they can figure out how to turn them terminal. Lets cross our fingers. As is though is peach fuzz.

  30. This guy on HLT who did this interview with follica at the meeting yesterday sounds not very excited about. At least they didn´t give any timeline. That would be okay as far as they would give us any hope that they we could achieve good results by using their technique. But for sure, we have to wait for the complete interview…. It really is a not-ending nightmare.

  31. Paul stop making up false information man. It really puts our hopes up then crashes it down. It doesn’t say anywhere they are going to phase 3.

    I’m really disappointed that SM didn’t bring out any regrowth. I really thought it would be a game changer. I guess maintenance is better than nothing. Is really that hard to grow fking hair!!! My goodness.

    Well follica seem to keep a tight lip about their treatment as usual. So we can’t make any speculations about it.

    Just a shame that it’s 2017 and we are still are in the same poistion. No new treatments and hope for upcoming future treatments that keep providing lackluster results.
    Despite the bad news I’m still going to keep my hopes up that science has a hidden treatment that none of us knows about and it will be released out of the blue before 2020.

  32. @mjones. Yes, they finished phase 2. They are in phase 3.
    On the other hand, mjones…READ AGAIN PLEASE ALL THE PRESENTATION. It’s a randomized, multicenter double blind study…It’s a GOOD TRIAL! The results siggested that SM04554 may be the FIRST treatment causing follicular neogensis. Maybe it will be available before 2020. So please…i think we must be at once optimistic and prudent.

    Take care.

  33. I see the initial HLT interview coverage looks like having minimal info with regards to Follica and timeline and even pics. Probably to be expected. But the plus is how much they seem to be actively engaging with Dermatologists. The good Dr Bhanusali has been tweeting again about Follica

    My best guess is that Follica and the treatment will appear as if out of nowhere. Catch Joe Public by surprise. But more importantly their competition. With the money involved. Providing of course Follica have a treatment worth talking about but after all this time, they have to have something worth all of this secrecy.

    1. Cool, thanks. Sounds promising but “new approach on the horizon” sounds a bit vague, like years away. On the other hand #breaktrough could mean they really have something that could be great.

    2. FWIW Dr. Bhanusali also posts pictures of “full cures” by PRP on his Instagram. Even if PRP works there’s no way it works THAT well. I wouldn’t consider him all that reliable. :/

      He’s clearly just trying to inflate his image and become a ‘celebrity doctor.’ He posts selfies with other celebrities all the time and plugs videos and TV appearances.

  34. I would not care about waiting another two years if we just knew that follica can bring us good results and in the words of this dermatologist “make hairloss a thing of the past”. Maybe their tight lips does not mean anything and also they will prefer for sure use some bigger media than HLT to advertise their “potential breakthrough” product.

  35. @Paul Pheonix, would you please stop acting like a fool and quit spreading false info. There is no info bout SM being in phase 3. Its okay you wanna be positive but you cant spread info you know nothing about just because you wanna be a happy camper.
    And why do you not trust the HLT member who was kind enough to spend his time doing the Follica interview? What is it that he did that instantly makes you post like hes a liar. Just stop the trolling @Paul Pheonix.

  36. @ms, I dont think Follica being tight lipped means anything else than them being very professional about their product. They are going forward which is a very good sign:-)

    1. Sure, you are right. They are professional. But a bit strange why they agreed to give this “little interview” when they are not willing to give any information. We will see. The two important questions are: 1. How good are their results, is it really a breakthrough and in this sense maybe a “cure”? 2. When will it be out?

    2. Yes :) I’m agree with you. Follica have something great on his hands. They are creating some partnerships, and meetings only for that.

  37. @Spanky :
    Hi Spanky, Phoenix has right.

    Samumed will be on phase 3 for SM because this is the next move for Samumed. And I think they have already planning it.

    And if you read the last results you can have a clue ” These results suggested that SM04554 maybe the first treatment causing follicular neogenesis”. For Samumed, this treatment would be the first one, before Follica… So in 2018 / 2019 ? Who knows :)

    As you can see on this interview “The next step for Samumed’s most advanced projects, the hair loss and osteoarthritis drugs, is large Phase III studies with thousands of participants ”


  38. So the follica “interview” was published on HLT, but the admin thinks they are in early stages of development. Sounds like years away.

  39. Based on the results SM had crap regrowth results. It didn’t grow new hair. Like only 2 hairs per sq cm. That’s bad. So where is the neogenisis?? I’m really confused. Anybody can show me what I am missing?

    1. the follicular unit increase was mostly seen in vellus hairs. Based on the data so far minoxidil has more or the same effectiveness in terms of actual coverage. That being said one could in theory perhaps combine samumed with histogen for some very impresive results.

  40. Just to make something clear, finishing phase 2 and starting phase 3 are two VERY different things. Fyi

  41. @noisette, good info but it does not state for sure that they are in phase 3 which is what Paul is jabbering on about. Lets hope we get more info soon :-)

  42. So in the end we have to use Propecia to fight dht end, Rogaine and SM to grow more vellous hair, use follica to max the effectiveness of the SM and minox then inject histogen to make it terminal hairs. So all this will cost us like 500 bucks a month. Using 5 differebt treatments daily to keep hair on our head. In the meantime they aew growing vaginas in labs wothoit a problem. But a hair follicke requires the all these treatmebts. Wtf. Pharmeuctuval industry are some clever sneaky mofos always after our money.

  43. Sorry for the rant guys. I won’t post anymore tonight. Just feeling frustrated. 16 years waiting for something and it’s just getting ridiculous. Egghead is probably right. They won’t ever cure this shit.

  44. Just to clear up some stuff, information was found by myself and others last year that indicated that not only were Follica planning a pivotal registration trial in late 2016 (which since got put back to the first half 0f 2017) and if all were to go well, release in 2018. The 2018 date looks like it’s gone but if everything were to go to plan, it could still come out in 2019 and judging by the ramping up of everything from their website to the partnerships with derms to the presentation at the week-end, I’d say that still has to be on.

    Also, this info was buried info to a certain extent. Follica were and currently aren’t screaming about those dates. They are super secretive for a reason and they also probably know that the Japanese may well have a full blown cure. Wasting time is not in their interests.

    They fact that they are wooing a prominent derm like Dr Bhanusali is a good sign and more are likely to follow. The real get for HLT would have been to interview a derm who was allowed in to attend the meeting.

  45. What a bad week for hairloss news :( Not trying to sound pessimistic but between Samumed’s underwhelming results and Follica’s flop of an interview, I don’t seem hopeful in anything but Tsuji now.

  46. Very quiet last couple months…

    Replicel has data coming out this month. Their phase one was actually pretty good for a single treatment imo. Histogen will have an update regarding Mexico phase 3 equivalent trials (whether they are happening) by the end of April. These are the two I am most closely watching given their phase 1 data. Histogen seems to help increase dermal pama cells while replicel helps support them. Shiseido should have the japanese equivalent of phase 3 data for replicels product by the end of the year i think.

  47. Seriously stop complaining, this is not a place to look for comfort or to share all your sorrow or suffering, life is f unfair we know it. We’re all here because we’re losing/we lost our hair, but you need to understand that crying on a website does NOT HELP THE CAUSE.

    This website is for sharing informations and advancements, i am hoping the admin will do something about it and add rules to the comment section.

    Anyway I found an interesting discussion (“My research-backed theory on hair loss “) on reddit, it’s pretty recent and interesting :

    1. I had a SMP two years ago, and it was a good decision, you will not have any side effects and if you want you just get rid of it later (laser) For some people it looks great if they have a nice looking head shape. For me it´s fine, it ´s much better than being without hair, but still I think I could have a better head shape for SMP and so I still want my hair back. It was rather a bridge until a new treatment appears on the horizon.

      1. Nice to know. I’m thinking about getting the temporary smp that fades every year by itself. I’m just worried about the pigment in our immune system potentially leading to risk in future

        1. What exactly does a tattoo have to do with your immune system?? Especially one that is much shallower than a traditional tattoo…

  48. Admin we should contact Osman kiber of sammumed and ask him to come with more of a permanent cosmetic option.. They are just wasting time with this….. Women lips and boobs… How are they getting better… Cosmetic options… Guys need to rethink this dreadful disease…. Please post any ideas

  49. and the emo cryfest continues…

    Anyway, regarding Sammumed: I’m not sure why, after previously abysmal results, people expected so much better. Though, to be fair, I really don’t know (or care) much about it because it’s pretty clear that oral drugs and topicals are a waste of time; they’re never going to be a cure and I wish that doctors researching hairloss would stop wasting their time with it. I wouldn’t doubt SMO4554 or whatever it’s called gets scrapped.

    Regarding Follica: If you’re all down in the dumps about it, it’s purely because you’re reading deeply into nothing and wanting bad news.

    That slide said “New approach on the horizon”, I don’t know how some people are all up in arms about how “That means years!” You have no idea and your conclusion is nonsense given that the meaning of the phrase “it’s on the horizon” means it is visible and near…

    Also, I don’t know why anyone is surprised that they didn’t tell “Doctor House” anything of real importance; being tight lipped like that is standard of any professional company regardless of industry.

    The only reason companies like RepliCel, Histogen, etc. publicly release data, do interviews and what not is because they’re startups that are looking for investor money as it’s the only way they can carry on. Companies like Shiseido, Follica and Riken are not in this boat. In fact, I suspect Organ Tech. only did that interview back in the summer because of the media attention their research was getting at the time.

    Seems like Follica has medical professionals on board, their patents sound good and it looks like, after a decade, they’re getting close to releasing something worthwhile.

    1. Replicel and Shiseido are literally the same product. Stop treating them like one is garbage and the other is gold. Shiseido paid for the testing so they can have the licensing rights in Japan.

      1. What are you talking about?

        Shiseido licensed the product. What information have you heard from them regarding their purchase?

        Nothing. They’re optimizing and testing it behind closed doors and they will report their data to the right people when the time comes.

        RepliCel drums up hype, tease public data releases, etc. Because they need money.

  50. A bit strange that cotsarelis´ bald spot on the back of his head is getting extended. You might think he would have the possibility to try his own treatment on himself and maybe be part in one of the trails…..

    1. Wtf? What are you talking about? A lot crying here…IMHO samumed and follica will be released very soon 2018/2019.That’s awesome!

  51. @Admin – we seem to have an epidemic of woe every time data comes out that doesn’t show a miracle of hair growth. It would be great if we have any qualified people in here to perhaps give an educated opinion on what we should realistically expect at each phase of a trial in terms of efficacy data.

    I.e. I wonder whether Phase 2 trials in general wouldn’t tend to show amazing efficacy results and really are more focused on initial dosing data with more safety data – and hence Samumeds results shouldn’t be taken as negative? Who knows, after future trials if they expect to achieve much better results from varied doses and other factors.

    Any examples from previous trails vs released treatments would be awesome if anyone has any ideas.

    We are all desperate yes – but let’s try keep some rational thinking with us!

    1. Thanks Jay. Over the years, the hair loss world has seen dozens of companies and products come and go with no cure, so I can understand peoples’ skepticism and disappointment. The companies are also not making it any easier with oftentimes vague wording and innuendo.

  52. Phase 2 poor results is much more negative than phase 1 poor results since phase 2 is supposed to test effectiveness. Phase 1 being positive is a great thing since its testing for safety so dosage is most often subotimal.

    1. @Hairplz I guess this was my question. I agree Phase 2 results would be more indicative than Phase 1 in terms of effectiveness – BUT I’m wondering whether if we were research scientists we would actually not expect to see amazing efficacy at Phase 2.

      Considering they only tested to low doses at Phase 2 – maybe it’s actually really positive that we saw any positive difference compared to vehicle and confirmed safety. And yes I know 0.15 showed more effectiveness than 0.25 – but that doesn’t mean 0.50 would be even less effective etc. We just don’t know and hence I prefer not to be disappointed until we actually understand this properly. People almost gave up on HIV research but look at the way it’s going now!

      I would love it if an actual research scientist could give their view on this :)

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