GAINESVILLE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With the patent expiration of Rogaine® and Propecia®, there is no longer a clear market leader in the $3.5B/year hair growth industry. Follicept™, developed by University of Florida spinoff Prometheon Pharma, is poised to fill that role in 2015 and challenge mediocre and often expensive drug, laser, and surgical treatments.
Follicept™ is considered a cosmetic, delivering extremely small yet effective doses of IGF-1, which naturally blocks the effects of testosterone on hair follicles. This creates a positive feedback loop, so a single dose of IGF-1 will remain active for many hair follicle life cycles. It avoids the “shedding” observed with Rogaine®, a common complaint of its users.
“Compounding the problem of spotty performance, current products for ‘male pattern baldness’ ignore up to 40% of those with androgenetic alopecia who are women,” said Dr. Stephen Hsu, CEO of Prometheon Pharma and inventor of its new Follicept™ hair growth gel. Prometheon is also known for its Topicon™ transdermal drug delivery technology and flagship needle-free insulin TruePatch™ under development. Follicept™ is the first in Prometheon’s dermatology product line. “People of all ages and genders face this cosmetic concern that carries with it a heavy psychological toll and no effective long-term solution,” Hsu added.
Rogaine® (J&J’s 5% topical minoxidil, first discovered in 1978) and Propecia® (Merck’s finasteride testosterone-inhibitor pill) have long been in use to treat androgenetic alopecia, most commonly a genetic trait. However, Rogaine® is not a long-term solution and Propecia® is associated with impotence. Not surprisingly, only ~1% of 56 million men and women with this condition actually use these products, yet this still drives a remarkably profitable and growing multi-billion dollar industry in the US.
“There have been few significant advancements in nearly 40 years because industry couldn’t deliver the known ideal compound, IGF-1, safely and locally across the skin. We are excited to announce that with Follicept™, the wait is finally over,” declared Hsu.
About Prometheon Pharma LLC
Prometheon Pharma is a biotechnology company housed in the globally #1-ranked Sid Martin Biotech Incubator at the University of Florida. Prometheon is dedicated to increasing patient compliance and access as well as reducing healthcare costs with its platform needle-free transdermal, low-refrigeration patches for large peptide and protein drugs.