We continue our look at the leading candidates for producing the much-heralded cure for hair loss, this time looking at the work of Follicum.
The origins of Follicum started out in conducting research into arteriosclerosis, they noticed an increase in hair growth in the laboratory mice and chose to pursue the importance of that outcome. They had been using a modified human protein, osteopontin, and worked to expand their understanding of how human proteins might impact on our ability to grow, or regrow, hair.
Their work resulted in a specific peptide, FOL-005, being taken to trial as their favoured candidate. They have since developed FOL-005. Both are protein-based but it is FOL-005 that is further down the path towards becoming a product on the shelves. News from a study conducted in Germany, which injected volunteers to the study with the drug, is that it has been declared as well-tolerated… positive news for the drug’s development since it means they are working on a treatment that has been declared safe. Efficacy results, at first glance, might be slightly less encouraging. Their website tells us that the study was evaluating the improvement based on the effect versus baseline, so individual changes and not versus the placebo. Nevertheless, they declared an improvement of 7 hairs per square centimetre, The study also showed “a clear increase” of the number of hair follicles in the growth phase, a result that improved with a larger dosage.
How Long Till A Product?
It is important to note that these results were for a first phase 11A study, essentially performed to test a drug’s safety and to evidence some therapeutic effect. The results are enough to encourage the team to start developing a topical version of the treatment, one which would have to undergo significantly fewer legislative hurdles and so lead to a product sooner rather than later… though Follicum admit they are still seeking a commercial partner they are understandably optimistic that this set of results will drive that conversation.
More studies are planned, with increased dosage and treatment rates, to try and improve on the existing set of results. Lower doses were shown to have no effect and a wide variety of results were seen even with larger doses.
HIS Hair Clinic
Follicum was founded in 2011 with just $650,000 if seed capital. Understandable then that their pace of progress is limited by that lack of finance. Great to read that these results are encouraging their efforts and we wish them well… while recognising that 7 hairs per sq cm are nothing to get too excited about then you really need around 250. But let us not underestimate the value of any research that has managed to grow even one new hair… they may very well be onto something. We will continue to watch them closely.
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