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Follica raises $11mil, reveals secret 11 herbs and spices

13 August 2008 4 Comments

Right on the heels of previous funding, Follica has just announced the completion of a second round of funding, grabbing 11 million USD and G. Kirk Raab, ex-CEO of biotech giant Genentech as a chairman.

Follica CEO Daphne Zohar heads up the publicity with an overview on Xconomy.com:

Our research has been progressing in a very positive way. We have had significant interest from the venture community and while we just closed the Series A round a few months ago, and weren’t planning on bringing in more money for a couple of years, we recognize that additional funds enable us to move more quickly.

Xconomy finishes up with a seven month old overview Zohar gave:

Daphne Zohar

Daphne Zohar

“What’s so beautiful about the approach, [Zohar] says, is that translating it into a treatment for humans involves only devices and drugs that are already on the market. A doctor would first use a microdermabrasion tool, say, or a laser to remove the top layers of the skin—as is already commonly done in a number of dermatologic and cosmetic procedures—knocking some cells back into a primitive state. The doctor can then use this newly created therapeutic window to inject drugs that push the cells to develop along one pathway or another and grow hair or skin.

she then tries to get you into her van without actually giving you any candy:

Zohar won’t reveal what drugs Follica is using, except to say that they are small molecule drugs normally taken orally for purposes with no relation to hair growth.

Sorry Daphne, but between articles, your application to WIPO already gave the big reveal:

Follica Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 head

Small molecule EGFR inhibitor leflunomide, gefitinib, erlotinib, lapatinib, canertinib, vandetanib, CL-387785, PKI166, pelitinib, HKI-272, or HKI-357
antihistamine mepyramine, diphenhydramine, or antazoline
anti-inflammatory corticosteroids, NTHEs, or COX-2 inhibitors
retinoid unnamed
anti-androgen finasteride, flutamide, diazoxide, l lalpha-hydroxyprogesterone, ketoconazole, RU58841, dutasteride, fluridil, or QLT-7704
immunosuppressant cyclosporine, tacrolimus, rapamycin, everolimus, or pimecrolimus
a channel opener minoxidil, diazoxide, or phenytoin
antibiotic unnamed
antimicrobial benzyl benzoate, benzalkonium chloride, benzoic acid, benzyl alcohol, butylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, camphorated metacresol, camphorated phenol, hexylresorcinol, methylbenzethonium chloride, cetrimide, chlorhexidine, chlorobutanol, chlorocresol, cresol, glycerin, imidurea, phenol, phenoxyethanol, phenylethylalcohol, phenylmercuric acetate, phenylmercuric borate, phenylmercuric nitrate, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, sodium proprionate, sorbic acid, or thiomersal
* In one embodiment, the small molecule EGFR inhibitor is gefitinib or erlotinib and the additional biologically active agent is a channel opener selected from minoxidil, diazoxide, and phenytoin.

and you thought Hot Pockets were bad. For the record, Gefitinib and Erlotinib are both oral drugs used to treat various cancers.

Interestingly, the WIPO application also discusses a “kit” at length, strongly suggesting that Follica will aim to provide a Do-It-Yourself home applicator:

Any of the above kits can optionally include instructions for applying the composition to the head of a subject (e.g., to the scalp, cheek, chin, lower face, or eyebrow), for applying the composition to the skin of a subject once or twice daily, for applying the composition to the skin of a subject for at least 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or even 10 consecutive days, for administering the composition during the night, or administering the composition during the day.

Some major questions remain with Follica’s technique, including the quality and the capacity of the new hair to resist DHT. Follica reps appear confident on this issue, but it still remains to be seen. That said, Follica has some heavyweights behind it and we are finally entering an era of hair future-science.

Read more about Follica on the Tressless Wiki

As an aside, have any of you noticed that every single mainstream article is followed up by sentiments regarding how vociferous and eager the hairloss community is?

My story about Follica’s debut last January and its quest for a baldness cure sparked a long-running (440 comments and counting as of this writing) conversation among the startup’s would-be customers that’s still quite lively all these months later.

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  • P

    Cause us bald bastards are painfully obsessed with our heads. I’ve seen homeless people with glorious (though dirty) heads of hair, and thought to myself “that lucky SOB.”

  • James Bond

    Interestingly, a lot of people are high on Follica and low on Intercytex. Yet, both companies wound the skin and inject a cocktail to produce new follicles. It seems to me, the Follica approach has more short-term potential, because it probably won’t require a lot of regulatory approval. However, the Intercytex approach has more long-term potential because the hair, IMO, will be more resistant to DHT. Time will tell, but I see no reason why the two techniques cannot be merged to produce the benefits of both methods.

    The goals are the same–make the scalp environment conducive to promoting new follicle growth. This requires the use of drugs, growth factors, and stem cells. Despite Follica’s use of resident stem cells present in the bald skin compared to Intercytex’ injection of cultured stem cells, the two techniques are quite similar and should prove to be complimentary.

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  • Trav

    Holy F-Balls. Hey so I just found out that Genistein (a soy phytoestrogen) is a natural EGFR inhibitor! So I guess we can order a pure genistein powder off bulk DIY skin care sites, make a cream out of it and apply it on exfoliated skin using glycolic / azelaic acid / TCA and use dermaroller as an alternative to this future kit.

    What do you think, sir?

    Thanks for writing this article!