Shiseido recently concluded a framework agreement on a collaboration and technology transfer contract with a Canadian bio-venture company RepliCel Life Sciences Inc., targeting the entire Asian region, including Japan, regarding the introduction of a “hair regenerative medicine technology (RCH-01).” Shiseido will pay ¥400 million to RepliCel as the contract fee.
Shiseido plans to combine RepliCel’s hair regenerative medicine technology and its technology, as well as work with specialists along the way, in an aim to commercialize safe and effective hair regenerative medicine in the next five years that integrates beauty and medicine to help those concerned about pattern baldness and thinning hair. RepliCel’s patented technology is an “autologous cell implantation technology,” in which specific cells isolated from the scalp of a patient (concerned about pattern baldness and thinning hair) are replicated and injected into the balding scalp skin in order to rejuvenate damaged hair follicles to promote the healthy hair growth in the balding scalp area. (Learn more about the science and development of this technology by Shiseido here.)
The pattern baldness and thinning hair-related market scale, including hair implantation, wigs, hair growth support and hair growth agents (medicated products and quasi-drugs), is estimated to be as large as approximately ¥200 billion in Japan alone. Since its establishment in 1872 as one of Japan’s first Western-style pharmacies, Shiseido has worked on hair research, as seen in the examples of Hanatsubaki (Camellia) hair oil in 1898 and the hair tonic Flowline in 1915, using its origin in pharmacology as the advantage. The company released Medicated Flowline in 1982 and Medicated Adenogen with a biogenic substance adenosine in 2005, and The Hair Care Adenovital Scalp Essence became a huge hit in the entire Asian region, recording the sales of over one million bottles in one and half years after the release in February of 2011. Shiseido has also been promoting scalp and hair biology research from genetic and cellular levels in many years, and this area has become one where it has the strongest expertise.