SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Stemson Therapeutics announced today the closing of a DCVC Bio-led $15 million Series A financing to advance development of Stemson’s proprietary therapeutic solution to cure hair loss. Genoa Ventures, AbbVie Ventures and other investors join in supporting Stemson’s efforts to restore human hair growth with a novel cell regeneration technology using the patient’s own cells to generate new hair follicles.
In addition, Kiersten Stead, Ph.D., Co-Managing Partner at DCVC Bio and Jenny Rooke, Ph.D., Managing Director at Genoa Ventures will join Stemson’s Executive Chairman Matt Posard and Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Geoff Hamilton on the board of directors. Dr. Stead invests in early-stage companies that build novel deep tech businesses in the life sciences. Stead received a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology & Genetics and an MBA in finance from the University of Alberta. Dr. Rooke is founder and Managing Director at Genoa Ventures where she specializes in early-stage companies innovating at the convergence of technology and biology. Rooke received a Ph.D. in Genetics from Yale University and a degree in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
“We are excited and honored to welcome DCVC Bio and a fantastic syndicate of investors to the Stemson team. The Series A funding will help us optimize our solution for human skin structure and environment so we can go into our first human clinical trial with high confidence for a positive outcome. We have the technical and biological building blocks to successfully address hair loss that overcomes failures of past therapies,” said Hamilton. “The addition of key venture capital investors DCVC Bio, Genoa Ventures and AbbVie Ventures broadens and strengthens our investor base. DCVC Bio and Genoa Ventures are successful early-stage development investors, and I am pleased to welcome Dr. Stead and Dr. Rooke, our newest board members, to the team. In addition, the AbbVie Venture investment comes on the heels of an initial seed investment from Allergan Aesthetics in 2020, and the continued industry interest in our technology is encouraging.”
Globally, hundreds of millions of men and women suffer from various forms of hair loss. Though there are many possible causes of hair loss, including chemotherapy, autoimmune disease, scarring, and genetics, all can result in a loss of self-esteem and cause depression, anxiety and other mental health disruption for those affected. The hair restoration market is expected to exceed $13.6 billion by 2028, and no solution today is capable of generating an unlimited new supply of healthy follicles for patients in need.
“Almost 30 years have passed since the last FDA-approved hair loss treatment, yet millions still suffer the physical and mental impact of losing their hair each year,” stated Dr. Stead. “Stemson’s novel stem cell engineering platform has the potential to cure hair loss once and for all, treating not only the physical symptoms of this complex problem, but the mental burden as well.”
"The team at Genoa is impressed with Stemson’s vision to blend biology and technology and apply it beyond traditional ‘biotech’," added Dr. Rooke. "By combining exciting advancements in iPSCs with novel technologies in materials and data sciences, Stemson exemplifies the kind of chimeric teams Genoa seeks to support on their journey to become a category-defining company."
The Series A financing brings the total funding raised to date to $22.5 million and allows Stemson to further the next stage of research and development of its cell engineering platform, where is it being combined with bioengineered material and robotic delivery as a novel solution for natural hair replacement. Currently, Stemson’s research and development efforts are focused on developing an optimized solution for human skin structure environment in larger animal models. Stemson’s Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) based technology is capable of producing the cell types required to initiate hair follicle growth and have been successfully tested in small animal models.
About Cell Regeneration Technology
Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC) have the unique capability to replicate indefinitely and give rise to all cell types of the human body, including the cell types required for repair. iPSC-based technology is capable of producing the cell types required to initiate hair follicle growth. As a new therapeutic platform, iPSCs represent an emerging area of regenerative cell therapy. Stemson is one of a growing number of companies at the forefront in developing iPSC-based treatments.
About DCVC Bio
For over twenty years, DCVC and its principals have backed brilliant entrepreneurs applying Deep Tech, from the earliest stage and beyond, to pragmatically and cost-effectively tackle previously unsolvable problems in nearly every industry. DCVC Bio specializes in supporting life sciences platform companies at the intersections of engineering and therapeutics, industrial biotechnology and agriculture. For more information, please visit https://www.dcvc.com/companies.html#dcvc-bio
About Genoa Ventures
Genoa Ventures invests in early-stage companies working at the convergence of biology & technology to accelerate the pace of innovation, transform industries, and solve some of the most fundamental challenges to life. Genoa, identifies opportunities early and focuses its investments and expertise to empower the next great category-defining companies. The Genoa team has a unique chimeric blend of experience from scientific research and discovery to executive management in the life sciences and technologies sectors. The team applies this diverse experience to provide expert guidance to its companies and stellar returns to its investors.
About AbbVie Ventures
AbbVie Ventures is the corporate venture capital group of AbbVie. We are a strategic investor, investing exclusively in novel, potentially transformational science aligned with AbbVie's core R&D interests. We measure success primarily by the extent to which our investments foster innovation with potential to transform the lives of patients that AbbVie serves. AbbVie Ventures enables its portfolio companies with both funding as well as access to AbbVie's internal network of experts across all phases of drug development, from drug discovery through commercialization. For more information, please visit www.abbvie.com/ventures
About Stemson Therapeutics
Stemson Therapeutics is a pre-clinical stage cell therapy company founded in 2018 with a mission to cure hair loss by leveraging the regenerative power of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. Based on the breakthrough innovation by Stemson Therapeutics co-founder, Dr. Alexey Terskikh, Stemson uses iPSC to regenerate the critical cells required to grow hair and which are damaged or depleted in patients suffering from hair loss. The iPSC-derived cells are used to grow de novo hair follicles, offering a new supply of hair to treat people suffering from various forms of Alopecia. Today, there are no available treatments capable of growing new hair follicles. Stemson’s world class team of scientists, advisors and collaborators are passionate about delivering a scientifically based, clinically tested cure for hair loss to the millions of hair loss sufferers who seek help for their hair loss condition. Stemson Therapeutics is headquartered in San Diego, CA. For more information, please visit www.stemson.com.