Shiseido Corporation of Japan, a giant in the cosmetics industry, recently paid RepliCell of Canada $35M to develop their groundbreaking hair-loss cure. As it moves into clinical trials we look at why Japan will be first to market the product.
Japan's Ageing Population
Japan has a problem, not unique by any means but more extreme there than anywhere. Today, 25% of the population is over 65, compare that to Canada where the figure is 16.1% and it is easy to see just how extreme their problem is. Over the next 40 years the section of the population aged over 75 will increase to 27%. In the same period the proportion of under 16's will decrease to just 13%.
This demographic time-bomb is seen across many industrialised nations and presents a major challenge for Governments. How to provide healthcare and pensions for a population that is living longer, at the same time as the conveyor belt of young workers is drying up. The problem in Japan is made worse by the fact that they have the highest life expectancy, at 83.4 years, of anywhere in the world. Since 2010 the number of deaths has outstripped births, in 2014 they saw the biggest drop in total population yet - 268,000!The good news for the rest of the world is that the Japanese authorities are taking on the challenge. Radical changes to healthcare delivery have been made. The good news for hair loss sufferers in particular is that it has made Japan a great place to launch new treatments.
A cosmetics giant in Japan Sheisido approached RepliCel, a Canadian regenerative medicine company, in regard to a product they had in development. The exotically named RCH-01 has been in development for a while now and having proved safety and efficacy and caught the eye of Shiseido, who are keen to add products they see as serving the largest demographic group in modern Japan. Keen enough to pay $35M and promise to share the results of their Japanese trials with Replicel.
How Does It Work?
A small punch biopsy is taken from the back of the patients head. Dermal sheath cup cells are isolated and then replicated before being injected back into the bare parts of the same patients scalp. You can watch a video explaining more detail hereIn a Phase 1 trial that took 39 months to complete efficacy was proved, albeit with modest improvements in the patients condition - though they were comparable with or better than FDA approved treatments currently available they are still some way off what most hair loss sufferers imagine when they think about what might constitute a genuine cure.Nevertheless, 35$M is a massive investment and the results of a Phase II trial will be eagerly awaited.
HIS Hair Clinic
We are delighted to see this level of investment being put into a 21st Century solution to hair loss. While it may still be many years before it becomes the dream treatment it may well be a great SMP combo solution. We sincerely hope so. If you want to discuss your hair loss situation with one of our friendly team of experts then find your nearest clinic by clicking here