Southern California Grows Roots as Potential Hotspot For Hair Loss Therapies
Image by BOKEH STOCK/ Shutterstock

Southern California Grows Roots as Potential Hotspot For Hair Loss Therapies

Ah Southern California, the land of movie stars, glamor, and beauty. A paradise of botox, silicone, and saline. A perfect incubator for a cure for baldness. Maybe.

Several new scientific studies have cropped up in recent months with tantalizing results that suggest researchers are narrowing in on the mechanism that makes hair start growing. At UC Irvine, Maksim Plikus’s research showed that a molecule called SCUBE3 can stimulate new hair growth in mice when injected into the skin. An hour north, at UC Riverside, complementary research by Qixuan Wang is delving into the same mechanics.


Both groups are focusing on a receptor in hair follicle cells called TGF-β, which plays several roles in virtually every tissue in the body. Critically, the receptor is involved in deciding when cells divide and die. By stimulating these proteins correctly–with the right molecules, in the right concentrations, at the right time–researchers are beginning to reactivate dormant hair follicles in mice.

These therapies have a long road ahead of them before they’re available in your local pharmacy. But that hasn’t stopped Plikus from co-founding Amplifica Holdings group with the intent of doing just that. Any treatment using SCUBE3 is probably 2-3 years away from human trials, but the company has other hair-loss therapy compounds in the pipeline that might be ready for human trials sometime next year, says CEO Frank Fazio. Amplifica is keeping its cards extremely close to the vest for now, and wouldn’t say anything about what type of molecule they’re using or how it works. Fazio would only say that the company is “laser-focused” on hair loss.

“We have two compounds that are going to be studied with the hopeful intent of actually having an impact on hair growth and hair restoration,” he said. More information should be available soon, however: Fazio says Plikus has new research that’s under review in “a prestigious journal” which should give some insight into what Amplifica is targeting with these first drugs.

The company is in the process of raising a $10 million Series A to get operations off the ground and transition it out of research and development and into clinical trials. In addition to potentially treating disorders like alopecia areata and regrowing hair in scar tissue, Plikus estimates that the hair loss market could be worth $12 billion by 2025.

There are several existing drugs on the market already, but they come with long term side effects and aren’t universally effective. Ninety percent of new drugs fail in clinical trials, but if Amplifica succeeds, the drugs could be life-changing and the return on investment massive.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence
Blockchain-Powered Museum Arkive Launches Out of Stealth In Santa Monica
Image courtesy Arkive

Historical documents, records and important artifacts are sometimes locked away in vaults (until a museum or library wants to showcase them), and under restricted access. Thomas McLeod believes that these artifacts hold great value and have the potential to impact communities, so he founded Arkive, the first decentralized, physical museum.

Read moreShow less
Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Sunset over LA
Courtesy of Cedric Letsch on Unsplash

Yesterday afternoon millions Californians around the state received an emergency alert straight to their mobile phones asking them to conserve power as the electric grid teetered on edge of collapse. The move came as the state battles on through an historic heatwave that has laid bare the shortcoming of its infrastructure in the face of a new and hotter climate.

Read moreShow less
David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

RELATEDTRENDING
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA