The treatment uses autologous cell transplantation technology where specific cells isolated from the hair follicles are taken from the scalp, cultured and then implanted into the balding area to stimulate residing chair follicles and promote new hair growth.
Scientists were based at the Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster, a research center located in Port Island designated by the Japanese government to promote industrial development and to provide a competitive advantage in the international market.
The facility opened in 2014, primarily to focus on research and development of regenerative medicine for hair, an area which holds huge potential and is estimated to be as large as approximately 200 billion yen in Japan alone.
The center comes on the back of Shiseido's acquisition of the exclusive geographic licence to use RepliCel’s RCH-01 regeneration technology across Asia last year.
“Shiseido has a long history of conducting comprehensive research and working towards commercialization of the regenerative medicine for hair,” the company noted in a statement.
The move to open the research facility cemented Shiseido's focus on creating methods and products of its own.
“Due to highly anticipated growth in this industry and newly adopted changes in the legal framework, Shiseido has decided to enter into regenerative medicine,” it confirmed.
The Tokyo-based company has worked on hair research since it was formed in 1872, producing a number of tonics and oils, using its origin in pharmacology as an advantage. It has also been promoting scalp and hair biology research from genetic and cellular levels for several years.
Is this 'cure' on the horizon sometime soon?
Although RepliCel had previously announced that a hair loss cure could be ready as early as 2016, it appears the launch has now been delayed..
In a statement sent to CosmeticsDesign-Asia.com, Shiseido spokesperson Mr. Tatsuyoshi Endo said that Shiseido is planning to commercialize a hair loss treatment as a result of this project by 2018.
The domestic market scale of regenerative medicine is said to be approximately 9 billion yen, with new measures, such as oral intake of drugs with an androgen suppression effect, having been promoted in medical institutions in recent years.
The development of new technologies, such as injection of growth factors for hair cells into scalps, etc, has also been promoted lately.
It comes up against a hurdle, though, in the fact that these oral treatment drugs cannot be applied to women. This may provide a potential space for growth in the sector.