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Ncee.org.ukNational Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship Thomas Whitfield's German rootshelp hair loss product launch A cursory glance at the Norwood hair-loss scale is a sobering experience for manymen of a certain age. Things look bad at stage two and go seriously downhill bystage four.
Don't even consider looking at stage seven, it's ghastly. Men retaining somesemblance of sensitivity to what wider society thinks of them will have turned to thehair clippers long before they reach that depressing point.
Yet heads need not be exposed in this way. Tomorrow, thousands of balding,psychologically bruised men will be able to buy their dignity back. That, at least, is thepromise being proffered by a young biochemist called Thomas Whitfield, who hasbeen on something of a mercurial entrepreneurial journey to take his Oxford PhDthesis from the university lab to the shop counter.
The Kirkcaldy-born 29 year-old's sales pitch is that his TRX2 pills are a naturaltreatment that works as well, if not better, than the existing treatments based onman-made compounds. These have well-documented side-effects. Whitfield ishoping that, as the body already makes his compounds, TRX2 will not.
Even a small share of the international hair-treatment market would be significant forthe start-up. "Of the two US Food and Drug Administration approved market leaders,Johnson & Johnson's Rogaine lotion and Merck's Propecia generate over $1bn incombined sales each year," says Whitfield. The major causes of hair loss can bedistilled down to genetic predisposition, hormonal effects and the deactivation of stemcells. However, the understanding is still limited. There is lots of research going on tofind out why it happens.
Only last week, the US Journal of Clinical Investigation published research findingsfrom the University of Pennsylvania that made the case that bald heads had thesame number of hair-making stem cells as a full head of hair, but just too many of thewrong type.
New hairs created by these cells are microscopic and the researchers are nowturning their attention to finding ways to reactivate the cells. Whitfield believespotassium ion channels small protein structures that are essential for hair growthprovide the answer. Two years ago, researchers discovered there is a specific type ofpotassium ion channel in hair follicles and he has been busy since.
Reproduced by Durrants under licence from the NLA (newspapers), CLA (magazines), FT (Financial Times/ft.com) or other copyright owner. No furthercopying (including printing of digital cuttings), digital reproduction/forwarding of the cutting is permitted except under licence from the copyright owner. All FT content is copyright The Financial Times Ltd.
National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship Hair-loss treatments have promised a lot in the past without delivering for some, andTRX2 is classed as a food supplement for regulatory purposes rather than a drug.
But Whitfield believes the research underpinning the treatment will reassurecustomers.
"A lot of the snake oils and scams have been false hopes but ours is scientificallytested," he says. "The results can really be impressive".
TRX2 is aimed at men with up to stage four hair loss on the Norwood scale. "Somepeople see positive results starting at three months. The majority see positive resultsafter five months. Some others are later," says Whitfield. "It depends on yourmetabolism. You see new hair and at the same time the loss of hair stops and whenyou look in the mirror the weight of the hair is bigger. It appears more heavy andthick." Sporting a healthy head of brown hair himself, at first glance it would appear thatstarting up this business has been pain-free. Whitfield is quick to correct thisimpression. "It has been far from straightforward," he admits.
First, he learnt to be flexible as well as focused. Working with serial medical deviceinventor Mir Imran at the cutting edge InCube Labs in Silicon Valley in 2009, hetemporarily shifted the main focus of his research away from trying to identify a newdrug.
"The focus was always on potassium ion channels, but before we followed the routeof developing new drugs or proteins that would target this channel. We have adaptedthe focus along the way because of the hurdles," says Whitfield.
"If you develop a totally new drug you need a lot of money and for that you needexternal investors. But then you lose the autonomy of the company and the product.
You don't develop the most effective treatments. It just plugs into the bigpharmaceutical companies." The decision to shun venture capital investment followed the closure in 2008 ofWhitfield's first venture an internet firm called Miomi.com, which plotteduser-generated personal histories and had attracted venture backing. It was also dueto his practical observation that even Silicon Valley venture firms were not investingduring the financial crisis.
For that reason alone Monday's launch is important to Whitfield's business, Oxford Reproduced by Durrants under licence from the NLA (newspapers), CLA (magazines), FT (Financial Times/ft.com) or other copyright owner. No furthercopying (including printing of digital cuttings), digital reproduction/forwarding of the cutting is permitted except under licence from the copyright owner. All FT content is copyright The Financial Times Ltd.
National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship Biolabs. He has bootstrapped the company so far, grabbing grants from the likes ofNesta and the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship along the way.
"As we are self-funding it is important for us to generate some revenue. It will help usto push our research projects," he says. It will also help feed the troops. Starting off with three people in September 2009, Oxford Biolabs has already grown to 12full-time staff, with a further 10 part-time, all currently spread across locations in UK,Germany and the US.
Oxford Biolabs is also consciously international in its mindset. The move hasn't beenfinalised, but while an R&D subsidiary is being built up in Regensburg, Germany,their head office will be established at the Oxford Science Park. The Germanconnection is in part a consequence of Whitfield's schooling in Germany his mother isGerman and partly because of the "very generous" grants. Speaking fromRegensburg, he says: "The advantage here is we get highly competitive rates for laband office space." He has also learnt that while the detail is important, never to lose sight of the ultimategoal. It is one that many of his customers will welcome.
"Monday is the launch. It is what we have been working on for the last two-and-a-halfyears," says Whitfield. "I am really excited, but we are not done yet. This product isthe result of our nutritional study. We have others that will hopefully providetreatments for later-stage hair loss and, hopefully, come up with acure." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/yourbusiness/8248046/Thomas-Whitfields-German-roots-help-hair-loss-product-launch.html Reproduced by Durrants under licence from the NLA (newspapers), CLA (magazines), FT (Financial Times/ft.com) or other copyright owner. No furthercopying (including printing of digital cuttings), digital reproduction/forwarding of the cutting is permitted except under licence from the copyright owner. All FT content is copyright The Financial Times Ltd.
www.CellTherapeutics.com La sostituzione della doxorubicina con pixantrone nel regime chemioterapico CHOP induce elevati tassi di remissioni complete e di sopravvivenza libera da malattia a lungo termine in pazienti con LNH aggressivo recidivato o refrattario dopo una precedente terapia con CHOP in prima linea Seattle, 4 aprile 2011 — Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (“CTI