SUMITOMO Electric Industries, Ltd. (SEI) announced today (6 febbraio 2002) that it has successfully developed a new substance that induces hair growth. Unlike conventional hair regrowth products that have indirect effect, the new substance, hereinafter referred to as EPM, encourages cyclic hair growth by directly inducing the formation of hair follicles (hair roots). In future, SEI will form business alliances with pharmaceutical and toiletry companies in Japan and overseas to enhance commercialization of this new development. EPM is the first biomedical substance SEI has developed. Further focusing its research efforts on morphogenesis of blood vessels and organs, SEI will continue to develop more biomedical substances that trigger the organization of other tissues.
SEI has long been conducting research on the organic materials for wire covering. In the early-80s, focusing its attention to future growth potential of the biotechnology market, SEI had started research on biotechnology and materials. After the discovery of a protein “epimorphin” that have the ability to make the cells to form the tissue-specific structures (morphogenesis) in 1992, SEI has been energetically carrying out research and development of clarifying the morphogenic function and of application of epimorphin to biomedicines.
Epimorphin is a protein that is made up of about 300 amino acids linked together. It normally exists inside a cell, but once secreted extracellulary, it encourages the cells of various organs, including the hair follicle, to rearrange into their original structures. However, it has long been unknown which amino acid combination is critical for the tissue organization.
In the initial stage of research, efforts were focused on the determination of optimum combination of amino acids that forms the follicles and induces hair-growth. SEI has established a screening method for efficient evaluation of effective combinations and used this method to determine the optimum amino acid combination for the follicle formation. Artificially reproducing and chemically modifying this optimum combination, the new substance EPM was formulated.
EPM, which is made up of about ten amino acids, is small enough to permeate through human skin. This means that it can be applied to the scalp as a hair regrowth product for external use. To test the effect of EPM, SEI has prepared an EPM concentration of one-hundredth of commercially available hair growth tonic and applied this on the laboratory mice that have their furs shaven. The test results verified that diluted EPM achieved the hair-regrowth effect equivalent to or better than that of the conventional hair regrowth product of normal concentration. Among the safety tests required for petition on manufacturing of drugs based on the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act, SEI has already completed the major animal tests. SEI has filed various patent applications on EPM and the screening method in and Japan and overseas.
SEI has appointed BioFrontier Partners, Inc. as its agent and will work toward commercialization of EPM as hair regrowth product through tie-ups with domestic and foreign pharmaceutical and toiletry companies.
Newly developed EPM forms the follicles and encourages regrowth of hair. SEI sees that when EPM is further improved, the amino acid combinations that induce formation of blood vessels and organs can be determined. SEI will focus its efforts on extraction and determination of the combinations that have new functions and will carry on the development in the field of regeneration medicine.
* Application quantity: 0.1 ml/day per individual
* Application condition: 1time/day
* Apply EPM for 35 days