As we near the end of our tour of those companies working towards a hair loss cure we turn our attention to Aclaris. There is something about them we really like…
Not unlike the other companies we have visited during this tour, Aclaris describe themselves in twenty-first-century terms. In fact, it would be closer to the truth to say they drive the development of innovative solutions to underserved skin conditions.
Founded in 2012 their early work was on finding an original treatment for seborrheic keratoses, a program was started in 2013. Fast forward to 2016, by when Aclaris had also begun a clinical program for the use of that seborrheic keratosis treatment on common warts, and they took an important step in our direction…
In 2016, Aclaris bought intellectual property from Colombia University where a team had been working on Janus Kinane (JAK) inhibitors. These JAK inhibitors play an important role in the development of alopecia so the acquisition effectively introduced Aclaris as a new, and important player, in the world of hair loss.
A year later saw two more important developments for the business. First, because it is our list, was the initiation of two clinical programs for a topical JAK inhibitor (ATI-502 JAK1/JAK3) – one was looking at alopecia areata and the other at vitiligo. The other significant moment in the Aclaris year last year was the purchase of Confluence Discovery Technologies Inc… who now operate as a wholly owned subsidiary. They are a full-service drug discovery and early developmental contract research organization. Which strikes us a very neat fit.
Chasing The Grail
This year came the news that they were broadening their horizons and elevating their ambitions for their topical JAK inhibitor, with the implication that it turns out to be more potent than might have been thought. There is now a clinical program based on using it as a treatment for androgenetic alopecia… that awful version of baldness generally known as “typical.” The sort that comes to you through your genes and has proved historically almost impossible to reverse.
HIS Hair Clinic
A new addition to the suite of products available to challenge hair loss would be most welcome. The topical nature of the Aclaris offering means that it will take considerably less time to come to market that some of the other more exotic treatments we have looked at in this series.
Aclaris themselves seem to go from strength to strength and are worth in the region of $0.5B today… Which we hope will also add some impetus to the development of their treatment. We will certainly report progress here.
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