Follica, Inc. is developing novel therapies for the treatment of conditions and disorders associated with the hair follicle, the “master” control center for the development and replenishment of human hair and skin.
Follica co-founder, Dr. George Cotsarelis, recently published research relating to Follica’s technology in the scientific journal Nature. For some of the media coverage around that paper and discovery, www.puretechventures.com//Content/newsFull.asp?file=follicanewscoverage.asp&id=291&mainPage=news
Dr. Cotsarelis was also interviewed on NBC’s Today Show in January 2008. Please click on the following link to view the webcast: http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?mkt=en-US&brand=msnbc&vid=3b251041-8028-403d-a6fc-e749264afc01
Treatments for conditions of the follicle, primarily hair loss, acne, and pigmentation issues, account for a total market exceeding $10 billion annually, despite a lack of truly effective solutions. Follica has assembled a world class team of scientific, clinical, and industry experts that will harness the recent advances in epithelial cell biology to identify and develop novel therapeutic approaches to these disorders.
Multiple forces are converging to create broad opportunities for new treatments of conditions of the follicle. In 2004 hair and acne investigators, including Follica advisors, published breakthrough work elucidating follicle biology [i,ii] . At the same time, consumers and physicians alike are embracing aesthetic medicine at an unprecedented rate: The number of U.S. aesthetic/cosmetic surgical procedures increased from 2.1 billion in 1999 to 8.3 billion in 2003 [iii], and last year patients spent $12 billion worldwide on cosmetic surgery and facial rejuvenation [iv]. Existing treatments for follicle disorders like hair loss and acne have issues with efficacy, safety, or both, and the development of new treatments has not kept pace with this increased appetite for aesthetic treatment.
More information - clinical testing
If you are interested in clinical testing if and when it is announced, please send an e-mail with your name and contact information to
----the email link for this didn’t send, you will have to go to their website if you are interested in participating in their trials.
i Morris et al. Nature Biotech. 2004; 22:411-17.
ii Tumbar et al. Science 2004 :303 :359-363.
iii American Academy of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
iv Cosmetic Surgery News
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BACKGROUND: FOLLICLE BIOLOGY AND ITS ROLE IN SKIN
The follicle is an intricate tissue structure composed of numerous coordinated sub-structures (Figure 1). The cylindrically shaped hair follicle is composed of epithelial cells. The apocrine and sebaceous glands control sweat and sebum (lipid secretion) production respectively. Sebum plays a primary role in skin integrity, microbial defense, and the pathophysiology of acne.
The bulge structure housing the epithelial stem cell niche lies below the sebaceous gland. This population of cells controls the initial development of the follicle along with the different phases of the hair cycle. The “hair bulb” contains the dermal papilla and the pigment-generating melanocytes as well as other cells that modulate the hair growth cycle. The follicle is integrated into the surrounding skin through connections to the microvasculature and the sensory nervous system. The interplay among all of these sub-systems influences almost all aspects of skin biology, from inflammation and immune response to the neuroendocrine system.
FOLLICA’S TARGET INDICATIONS
Follica’s primary focus is a novel platform technology for treating hair loss and unwanted excess hair. As a secondary focus, Follica’s will target the other high potential areas related to the biology of the follicle, namely acne, degenerative skin disorders, pigmentation, and body odor.
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R. Rox Anderson, MD, Co-Founder & Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Anderson has been a leading innovator in the medical laser field for over 20 years and several of his 41 issued patents have been developed into products currently used in the clinic. In his capacity as a Professor of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School , Dr. Anderson serves as the Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Laser Center and the Director of the Wellman Laboratory of Photomedicine. Dr. Anderson is a Board Certified member of the American Board of Dermatology and world renowned thought leader that has published over 160 peer reviewed articles and has been a contributing editor to over 21 textbooks on the medical applications of lasers. Dr. Anderson also has experience advising numerous dermatology companies on how best to translate promising research into clinical products.
George Cotsarelis, MD, Co-Founder & Scientific Advisory Board Member
A pioneer and foremost expert in epithelial stem cell biology, Dr. Cotsarelis’ research led to the isolation and characterization of the expression pattern of stem cells from the bulge region of the follicle. Dr. Cotsarelis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania and has an active clinical practice at the hospital affiliated with the university. He has published over 40 peer reviewed journal articles and has several issued and pending patents based on his scientific discoveries. Dr. Cotsarelis is also an active advisor to dermatology companies developing novel approaches to treating hair loss.
Vera Price, MD, Co-Founder & Scientific Advisory Board Member
Dr. Vera Price is a Professor in the Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where she also directs the UCSF Hair Research Center , the Hair and Nail Clinic, and the UCSF Dermatology Faculty Practice. Dr. Price is Founding Chairman of the National Alopecia Areata Foundation and an active participant in other leading alopecia societies. Her research on quantitatively measuring hair growth in patients treated with Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil), the hormonal regulation of the hair follicle, and immunopathologic and genetic studies in alopecia areata have yielded numerous significant contributions to the field.
Ron Cape PhD, Board Member [ click here for complete bio ]
Daphne Zohar, Founding CEO, Board Member [ click here for complete bio ]
Chris Ehrlich, Board Member; Partner at Interwest Partners [ click here for complete bio ]
David Steinberg, Chief Business Officer [ click here for complete bio ]
Stephen Prouty, PhD, Director of Research [ click here for complete bio ]
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© Copyright 2006 PureTech Ventures
There is an email link to their clinical trial section if you are interested. They are about to go into trials at Follica with people (not human skin grafted onto a mouse).