RIKEN Fundraising for Regenerative Medicine

RIKEN is a Japanese government funded research institute. They get very little in the way of public donations. This should change in FY 2020 due to their widely publicized request that I discuss in this post.

  • In FY 2018, RIKEN received 37 donations for a total of approximately 8 million yen. Equivalent to $76,000 at current exchange rates.
  • In FY 2019, RIKEN received 380 donations for a total of 25 million yen. Equivalent to $240,000 at current exchange rates.

I have never written a fundraising related post on this blog before. I have encouraged readers to donate small amounts in order to send people to major hair loss conferences twice. However, those fundraising goals amounted to just several thousand USD.

Several days ago, we learnt that Dr. Takashi Tsuji and his hair loss cure project was still progressing. Although he split from commercial partner Organ Technologies in 2020, his RIKEN (Rikagaku Kenkyūjo) team’s research continues to thrive. Next stop is clinical hair regeneration.

However, the hair loss and teeth regeneration work from RIKEN now needs private funding.

“The team is seeking 500 million yen ($4.8 million) in donations from companies and individuals. The money will be used not only for clinical testing on the safety of the hair transplant technology, but also for other trials, such as regenerating teeth.”

Support RIKEN

I wrote to the RIKEN team and suggested their using GoFundMe or contacting Allergan for investment. The latter has invested in 5 hair loss companies in recent years. In 2019, Allergan gave $25 million to Exicure, along with potential milestone payments of $265 million. RIKEN only needs $4.8 million.

Surprisingly, RIKEN replied to me right away. They were interested in my introducing them to the Allergan team, so I will need to figure that one out! More importantly, they said that they have created the below two links for those who want to donate:

Update: I have asked them to add a Paypal option. Hope they do so, as I prefer that option over paying by credit card. Someone on Twitter has also asked them to be more transparent by posting total funds raised to date information.

I later also asked RIKEN about approaching locally based Aderans. Their response was as follows:

“Aderans is a partner of hair diagnostic project but not hair follicle regeneration. I would like to meet a new partner of the hair regeneration for clinical application in human.”

Caveat

If you do donate to this cause, please note that the chances of any particular hair loss cure coming to realization are always abysmal. We have been disappointed over and over again for decades. I also doubt that private donations will get them more than $1 million, although I hope I am wrong.

I would suggest that the only reason to donate would be to support the overall goals of RIKEN when it comes to regenerative medicine. The implications of this work go across all of human biology. Not just hair and teeth.

Japan’s declining and aging population means that the country leads the world in anti-aging research. So these funds could indirectly benefit all of humanity. Clinical trials in Japan also proceed faster than anywhere else in the developed world. Especially when it comes to autologous regenerative medicine.

Of related interest, 10 of the 50 oldest living people in the world as of today are Japanese. That list is based on proven birth records. At the same time, Japan’s population has declined for 9 straight years, and a likely 10 straight years when new data is released.

RIKEN Tweets
RIKEN Tweets from February 11, 2021. Their hair multiplication works in human cells too.

OliX Pharmaceuticals RNAi Hair Growth Success

Recently, I wrote a post on microRNA (miRNA) and hair growth. In there, I also discusses messenger RNA (mRNA). Now we have RNA interference (RNAi) as a hair loss treatment. Thanks to OliX Pharmaceuticals (South Korea).

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

OliX Pharmaceuticals RNAi Hair
OliX Pharmaceuticals and its RNAi product OLX104C. Before and after hair growth in mice.

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 (h/t “DrPhil”).

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”.

This has been the best week in hair loss news in several years. It also seems like 100s 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.

Hair loss news blog. Hair cloning for baldness.