Recipharm signs on to develop Follicum's hair-growth drug

Contract drug developer Recipharm has inked a deal with Swedish biotech Follicum to help get the company's top prospect into clinical trials, handling formulation and production.

Follicum's candidate, FOL-005, is a peptide therapy designed to modulate hair growth and regrow hair. The treatment has thus far shown promise in preclinical animal studies, the company said, and Follicum is now blueprinting a Phase I program.

Recipharm is on board to help finalize a formulation for FOL-005's first-in-human trial, producing doses for the study. The Swedish contractor is also tasked with developing and validating the necessary analytical methods to move forward, Follicum said. Neighboring CMO PolyPeptide Group has signed on to manufacture the finished product.

The plan now is to wrap up the preclinical process by the end of the year, according to Follicum, kicking off its clinical study in 2016.

"Preparations for the clinical trials are well underway and we have now established relationships with two cooperative partners that we are confident about," Follicum CEO Jan Alenfall said in a statement. "Both of these two companies are very successful in their fields and have solid records of accomplishment."

Meanwhile, Recipharm has been rapidly expanding since going public in 2014, spending more than $300 million in three buyouts designed to bolster its capacity across Europe.

- read the statement (PDF)