bald man's headSan Diego based biotech Samumed announced the results of its second phase drug trial for hair loss in December 2015. Known as SM04554, the drug is being tested as a treatment for androgenetic alopecia and other hair loss. The hope is that the new drug will help re-energise the hair loss market. The results from stage two have certainly proved promising, with increased hair density reported. The drug also didn’t cause any adverse effects.

SM04554 – an exciting development in a stagnant market

The new drug is an exciting development in what has been a so far pretty stagnant market. The last major drug released to combat hair loss was Propecia. It was approved by the FDA and released onto the market 15 years ago. No drugs since have proven to be as effective.

Despite the lack of effective drugs, the haircare market has still grown significantly over the years. In 2016 it is reportedly now worth a staggering 83.1 billion US dollars globally.

Other biotechs helping to re-energise the hair loss market

As well as the new Samumed drug, there have been other recent treatments trialled and tested which have had a positive impact on the hair loss market. One of which is Replicel.

The company’s RCH-01 hair growth treatment captures the hair follicles and re-injects them into the scalp. A punch biopsy is carried out to remove healthy hair follicles, before certain cells are removed and then cultured within a growth medium. Once they have multiplied by the millions, it is then they are injected back into the scalp.

What makes Replicel so interesting is that it actually partnered with huge Japanese company Shiseido. It opened a brand new biotech plant to continue developing the technology. Replicel is reaching stage two of its testing in the US, whereas Japan will be trialling it sometime in the first quarter of 2016.

Histogen is another noteworthy development. A Hair Stimulating Complex is currently due to start phase three approval trials at any time. It is basically a serum that is injected to encourage hair growth. Due to how easy the treatments are, this would no doubt be a very popular choice for many hair loss sufferers. So far it has received excellent results from the first two stages of testing.

Overall, up until recently the hair loss market hasn’t been overly exciting. However, biotechs have been working on new innovative treatments that are proving to be successful in initial trials. It’s worth keeping a lookout for the results of each phase to see how much progress is being made.

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By Ian Watson

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