BOSTON, Aug. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Follica Inc., a privately held developer of novel therapies for androgenetic alopecia and other hair follicle disorders, today announced an $11 million Series B financing round. Polaris Venture Partners led the financing and existing investors InterWest Partners and PureTech Ventures participated.
Androgenetic alopecia is male and female pattern hair loss in genetically susceptible men and women.
The company also announced several new additions to its team. Two new members joined the Follica board, including Mr. G. Kirk Raab, former CEO Genentech, COO Abbott, and chairman, Connetics. Mr. Raab will serve as Follica's chairman. The other new board member is Dr. Kevin Bitterman, principal at Polaris Venture Partners. Raab and Bitterman will join existing board members Daphne Zohar, Follica CEO and PureTech Ventures managing partner, and Mr. Chris Ehrlich, general partner, InterWest Partners.
"Polaris is thrilled to join PureTech and InterWest in helping to build Follica," said Bitterman. "The cutting-edge biology on which the company was founded allows Follica to address hair loss and multiple other conditions with an entirely novel mechanism of action. The combination of world-class founders George Cotsarelis, Rox Anderson and Vera Price, and the enormous unmet need in the aesthetic dermatology space make this a tremendously exciting company."
In addition, Dr. Samir Mitragotri of the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), a leading expert in transdermal drug delivery, will join Follica's Scientific Advisory Board. The company also welcomed Mr. Scott Kellogg (formerly of Sontra Medical, Ultracision, and Ethicon Endosurgery) as vice president of operations and promoted Dr. Stephen Prouty (formerly of Johnson & Johnson's skin biology group) to vice president of research.
Follica was co-founded by PureTech Ventures and a group of academic dermatologists from Harvard, UCSF and the University of Pennsylvania to address the critical issue of alopecia. The company recently announced a Series A round of financing in January 2008.
In a paper published in May 2007 in the journal Nature, technology licensed by Follica from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine was used to generate completely new hair follicles for the first time in normal adult mammals.
Unlike currently available treatments that attempt to retain or re-activate existing follicles, this technology provides for the first time, the potential to stimulate entirely new hair follicles. New hair follicles that form after disruption function normally, cycle through the normal stages of hair growth and exhibit normal architecture, including a full complement of stem cells.
About Polaris Venture Partners:
A national venture capital firm with over $3 billion under management, Polaris (www.polarisventures.com) invests in seed, early stage and growth equity businesses in the life science, technology, digital media, enertech and consumer sectors. Through a philosophy of lead investing and active, long-term partnering with entrepreneurs and management teams, Polaris has helped a number of companies achieve outstanding success. Among them are: Accordant Health Services, Acusphere, Advanced Inhalation Research (acquired by Alkermes), Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Aspect Medical Systems, Cubist Pharmaceuticals, deCODE genetics, GlycoFi (acquired by Merck), Momenta Pharmaceuticals and TransForm Pharmaceuticals (acquired by J&J).
About InterWest Partners
InterWest Partners (www.interwest.com), founded in 1979, is a leading diversified venture capital firm focused on building long-term relationships with entrepreneurs and portfolio companies. Currently investing its tenth fund, IW X, a $650 million fund, InterWest has raised more than $2.8 billion of capital since inception. InterWest has 14 investing partners in Menlo Park, CA and Dallas, TX, who bring together deep domain knowledge in life sciences and information technology. The firm's investments in life sciences include: ArthroCare, Aspreva Pharmaceuticals Corporation (acquired by Galenica group), Cor Therapeutics (acquired by Millennium Pharmaceuticals), Corixa (acquired by GlaxoSmithKlein), Coulter Pharmaceutical (acquired by Corixa Pharmaceuticals), Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Epicor Medical (acquired by St. Jude Medical), Inspire Pharmaceuticals, IntraLase, Myogen, Spinal Dynamics (acquired by Medtronic), TheraSense (acquired by Abbott Labs) and Ventritex (acquired by St. Jude Medical).
About PureTech Ventures
PureTech Ventures (www.puretechventures.com) is a Boston-based venture creation firm specializing in translating breakthrough research from top tier academic institutions into therapies that will impact human health. PureTech's partners include entrepreneurs and leaders from the top echelon of pharma, biotech and academia including Dr. Ronald Cape (founder, Cetus), Dr. Robert Langer (renowned MIT professor), Dr. Frank Douglas (former chief scientific officer, Aventis), Dr. Bennett Shapiro (former EVP worldwide basic and External research, Merck), Dr. John Zabriskie (former CEO Pharmacia & Upjohn), and Daphne Zohar (PureTech founder and managing partner).
Follica Inc. (www.follicabio.com), a privately held medical device company, was co-founded by PureTech Ventures and a group of world renowned experts in hair follicle biology and medicine. In addition to hair loss, Follica has intellectual property and development programs in various skin and follicle related indications.
CONTACT: Daphne Zohar of Follica Inc., +1-617-482-2333,
Web site: http://www.follicabio.com/