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.
"Compounding the problem of spotty performance, current products for 'male pattern baldness' ignore up to 40% of those with androgenetic alopecia who are women"
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.