Shiseido Co., Ltd. announced plans to open its Cell-Processing and Expansion Center (SPEC) on May 1, 2014. The center, located in the in the Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster in Kobe, Japan, will centralize the company's R&D efforts in hair regenerative medicine, with an aim toward commercialization. With the goal of clinically applying regenerative medicine to treat alopecia and thinning hair, Shiseido established a technical collaboration agreement in July 2013 with Canadian bio-venture company RepliCel Life Sciences, Inc., by acquiring an exclusive geographic license to use its RepliCel Hair-01 (RCH-01) hair regeneration technology in Asia.
RCH-01 has been developed over 10 years, and safe application in humans has been validated by RepliCel’s phase 1 clinical trial. RepliCel has patents issued for hair follicle mesenchymal stem cells and their use in Japan, the United States, Australia and the European Union. According to the company, RCH-01 is an “autologous cell transplantation technology,” in which specific cells isolated from the hair follicles taken from the scalp of a patient are cultured and implanted (injected) into the balding scalp area, potentially stimulating residing hair follicles and promoting new growth in the balding scalp area.