BOSTON, Aug. 12 Follica Inc., a privately held developerof novel therapies for androgenetic alopecia and other hair follicledisorders, today announced an $11 million Series B financing round. PolarisVenture Partners led the financing and existing investors InterWest Partnersand PureTech Ventures participated.
Androgenetic alopecia is male and female pattern hair loss in geneticallysusceptible men and women.
The company also announced several new additions to its team. Two newmembers joined the Follica board, including Mr. G. Kirk Raab, former CEOGenentech, COO Abbott, and chairman, Connetics. Mr. Raab will serve asFollica's chairman. The other new board member is Dr. Kevin Bitterman,principal at Polaris Venture Partners. Raab and Bitterman will join existingboard members Daphne Zohar, Follica CEO and PureTech Ventures managingpartner, and Mr. Chris Ehrlich, general partner, InterWest Partners.
"Polaris is thrilled to join PureTech and InterWest in helping to buildFollica," said Bitterman. "The cutting-edge biology on which the company wasfounded allows Follica to address hair loss and multiple other conditions withan entirely novel mechanism of action. The combination of world-classfounders George Cotsarelis, Rox Anderson and Vera Price, and the enormousunmet need in the aesthetic dermatology space make this a tremendouslyexciting company."
In addition, Dr. Samir Mitragotri of the University of California at SantaBarbara (UCSB), a leading expert in transdermal drug delivery, will joinFollica's Scientific Advisory Board. The company also welcomed Mr. ScottKellogg (formerly of Sontra Medical, Ultracision, and Ethicon Endosurgery) asvice president of operations and promoted Dr. Stephen Prouty (formerly ofJohnson & Johnson's skin biology group) to vice president of research.
Follica was co-founded by PureTech Ventures and a group of academicdermatologists from Harvard, UCSF and the University of Pennsylvania toaddress the critical issue of alopecia. The company recently announced aSeries A round of financing in January 2008.
In a paper published in May 2007 in the journal Nature, technologylicensed by Follica from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine wasused to generate completely new hair follicles for the first time in normaladult mammals.
Unlike currently available treatments that attempt to retain orre-activate existing follicles, this technology provides for the first time,the potential to stimulate entirely new hair follicles. New hair folliclesthat form after disruption function normally, cycle through the normal stagesof hair growth and exhibit normal architecture, including a full complement ofstem 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 growthequity businesses in the life science, technology, digital media, enertech andconsumer sectors. Through a philosophy of lead investing and active, long-termpartnering with entrepreneurs and management teams, Polaris has helped anumber of companies achieve outstanding success. Among them are: AccordantHealth Services, Acusphere, Advanced Inhalation Research (acquired byAlkermes), Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Aspect Medical Systems, CubistPharmaceuticals, deCODE genetics, GlycoFi (acquired by Merck), MomentaPharmaceuticals and TransForm Pharmaceuticals (acquired by J&J).
About InterWest Partners
InterWest Partners (www.interwest.com), founded in 1979, is a leadingdiversified venture capital firm focused on building long-term relationshipswith entrepreneurs and portfolio companies. Currently investing its tenthfund, IW X, a $650 million fund, InterWest has raised more than $2.8 billionof capital since inception. InterWest has 14 investing partners in Menlo Park,CA and Dallas, TX, w