Stemson Therapeutics Secures GBP6m in seed financing

Stemson Therapeutics announced today £6 million seed financing from impact investor Fortunis Capital and Allergan Aesthetics, an AbbVie Company, to advance development of Stemson’s therapeutic solution to cure hair loss. 

Stemson aims to restore human hair growth with a novel approach using the patient’s own cells to generate new hair follicles. Allergan Aesthetics is a world leading medical aesthetics company. Fortunis Capital, a London-based venture capital firm is committed to continuing support of Stemson’s regenerative cell therapy to treat hair loss. Fortunis Capital’s new Impact Fund intends to invest in companies, such as Stemson, which offer significant social or environmental benefit. 

“Stemson’s novel cell therapy approach to treat hair loss has game-changing potential. Their experienced management team is poised to elevate its proprietary regenerative cell therapy method as it begins the next phase of its preclinical programme,” says Sir Andrew Ross, Director of Investments at Fortunis Capital. “Fortunis Capital is committed to supporting companies that are creating innovative solutions with worldwide social or environmental benefit and we believe that Stemson has the team, technology and the tools in place to develop a therapy capable of solving the hair loss problem for millions of people in need.”

The seed funding supports the preclinical development of Stemson’s Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) based technology which is capable of producing the cell types required to initiate hair follicle growth.  Globally, hundreds of millions of men and women suffer from various forms of hair loss, and no solution today is capable of generating a new supply of follicles for patients in need.  

“Allergan Aesthetics’ research and development efforts are focused on products and technologies that drive the advancement of aesthetics medicine. Hair loss is a significant unmet medical need for millions of men and women, and Stemson Therapeutics’ efforts to develop novel methods to regrow hair is an opportunity to make a difference in this area,” says Yehia Hashad, MD Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Allergan Aesthetics.

The initial seed financing allows Stemson to expand its management team and R&D resources, while recent approval of a foundational patent provides stability surrounding the Company’s efforts to develop its radical solution for hair growth.  The additions of Meghan Samberg, PhD as Vice President of R&D and Preclinical Development and Cenk Sumen, PhD as Chief Technology Officer complement the work of Stemson’s cofounder and Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Alexey Terskikh and the R&D team. Stemson received approval in the United States of its cornerstone Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) method patent licensed exclusively from the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. The patent covers a novel process developed by Dr Terskikh to differentiate iPSC into dermal papilla cells, the cell type primarily responsible for controlling hair follicle generation and hair cycling. The patent secures foundational methods using iPSC cell therapy to grow hair.

“Stemson has established the biological and technical building blocks which are needed to solve the problem of hair loss. A truly curative solution is now feasible, and we have built a world class team to deliver a therapy for the millions of hair loss sufferers across the world,” says Geoff Hamilton, cofounder and chief executive officer of Stemson Therapeutics. “We are grateful for support from Allergan Aesthetics and Fortunis Capital, and we look forward to expanding our base of investors as we move toward our first human clinical trial.”