Science and Technology
Adapted from Chuong C, Nature, 447, 265-266, 2007; Formation of new hair in a healed wound: (a) after the epidermis is disrupted in the skin of adult mice, re-epithelialization occurs. (b) new hair follicles originating from the epidermis form in the reepithelialized area
To date, all mainstream efforts to reverse hair loss have addressed the problem by trying to stimulate (or transplant) existing follicles. Follica's approach is completely novel. The company has obtained an exclusive, worldwide license from the University of Pennsylvania to develop and commercialize a breakthrough technology that has been demonstrated to stimulate the genesis and development of new follicles. Dr. George Cotsarelis discovered that physical disruption of the skin, under the appropriate circumstances, can lead to follicle neogenesis. This capacity of the adult skin to generate new follicles had been observed in the scientific literature from the 1950's and 1960's, but due to lack of understanding of the fundamental biology of the follicle, could never be definitively proven.
Using tools primarily developed in his lab, Dr. Cotsarelis was able to demonstrate hair follicle neogenesis and show enhanced effect through manipulating the key signaling pathways involved in hair follicle formation. Some of these pathways can be manipulated using known drug compounds. Follica is developing the hair follicle neogenesis platform into clinically effective therapies for treating hair loss and for long term or permanent hair removal. Additional pipeline products may apply in acne, skin rejuvenation, and wound healing.