A British biomedical startup has grand designs on your hair. They want to take some, put it in a vault and offer it back to you when you are losing your own.
This ambitious young business has two therapies in development, both aimed at treating hair loss but at different stages. The first aims to increase the thickness of thinning hairs at the start of the process. The second, more ambitious in scope, hopes to regenerate new hair follicles for patients with extensive hair loss. Needless to say, though it does still say it on their website, these treatments if successful, would “dramatically revolutionize” the market.
What really caught our eye about them though was not either of those treatments… though they need the second treatment to work if this interesting idea is to catch on. What really caught our attention was their plans to open the world’s first “follicle bank.”
The plan is to open this bank later this year. Once open patients will be able to attend a short surgery where up to 100 follicles will be removed and placed into storage until such time as the patient requires them back to replace hair loss. The recommendation is to have the harvesting done at an early age when the follicles are in their best condition. Particularly true if there is a history of hair loss in the family. At the point where the patient returns in need of more hair, the donated follicles would be replicated before being injected back into the scalp. As one of the executive team, transplant surgeon Dr. Farjo, described, “The point of hair cloning is to create as many hairs as we need, at any point in time, without worrying we’re going to run out in the future. Many may see this as an insurance policy for later life.”
State of Play
At this point in time, the team at HairClone are waiting to receive the necessary permissions from the regulators before they can begin testing on patients… but they are raring to go. Early indications are that the treatment will come at a fairly hefty price, around £2.5K for the initial treatment, £100 a year to store the follicles, and a need to return for a refresh every 3 to 5 years.
HIS Hair Clinic
There is no shortage of ambition in this project, and why would there be given a hair transplant market worth billions a year waiting to be cracked. We don’t doubt that if they are successful, in completing their research and delivering their therapies, that they would make a big difference. But they are some very tough nuts they are trying to crack. Maybe keeping a hundred or so follicles in deep freeze might appeal to some, while they are waiting. Visit their fundraising page on Capital Cell here to see how they are getting on with raising the capital to pursue their plans.
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