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New receptors found for Follicum’s lead candidate

Hair loss

New research has identified receptors in human hair follicle cells that its lead candidate FOL-005 binds to.

The newly acquired knowledge paves the way for a better understanding of how FOL-005 can be used for treatment of hair loss, and a significant milestone in the continued development of FOL-005, reports the company.

“The positive news that we have now identified exciting receptors for FOL-005 allows us to build a specific rational for how FOL-005 works. The information is also important for our understanding of whether FOL-005 can be used for other hair indications in the future, how other types of hair growth disorders such as hirsutism and how different types of hair loss can be treated. The new results are also very valuable for us in our ongoing discussions with both regulatory authorities and commercial partners,” said Jan Alenfall, CEO of Follicum.

Investigation of mechanism of action

The research into FOL-005’s mechanism of action was conducted in collaboration with a specialized Swiss company (Dualsystems Biotech) and aimed to identify the proteins that FOL-005 binds to. Two different cell lines from human hair follicles were used and as a result several interesting receptors were identified. These will now be further mapped in detail in preclinical trials. Corresponding studies are also being conducted to identify receptors relevant for the company’s separate diabetes project.


FOL-005 is a short and modified sequence of the human protein Osteopontin, a protein that has been suggested to play a role in hair growth. In several preclinical studies in a mouse model, treatment with FOL-005 has resulted in a dose-dependent increase in hair growth. The first clinical Phase I/IIa study with FOL-005 was completed during 2017 and showed that treatment with FOL-005 was safe and resulted in higher hair density, 8% increase at the best dose. Moreover, a high number of responders, 76%, were observed. Currently preparations for a Phase IIa study on Alopecia subjects are ongoing.