Two Decades of Research Collaboration
The founding scientists, Dr. Rolf Hoffmann and Dr. Kevin McElwee, have worked for more than two decades to develop a profound scientific understanding of immunology, hair biology, hair growth and alopecia.This collaboration lead to the formation of RepliCel and the development of its autologous cell therapies.
2000 – Collaboration begins when Prof. Hoffmann appointed Dr. McElwee as a senior research scientist in the Department of Dermatology at Phillips University in Marburg, Germany.
Research collaboration initially led them to examine the dynamics of cultured hair follicle-derived cells focussing on a region of the hair follicle that had been largely ignored by scientists – the dermal sheath cup.
In pre-clinical trials using tissue engineering and standard animal models, the scientists found that, in contrast to previous studies, cultured cells derived from the dermal sheath cup were capable of reconstituting a dermal papilla (“DP”) and promoting the development of hair follicles.
2003 – The scientists’ landmark study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Together, the scientists filed patent applications, which have now been accepted in the United States, Australia and the European Union. Additional patent applications, further protecting and expanding on RepliCel’s technology, are pending in the European Union, Canada, Japan, the United States, as well as other countries.
2004 – Dr. McElwee appointed to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Hoffmann leaves academia to establish private practice and pursue the development of RCH-01.
2006 – Dr. McElwee and Dr. Hoffmann found TrichoScience Innovations Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of RepliCel Life Sciences Inc.) with three other internationally recognized hair research scientists – Drs. Jerry Shapiro, David McLean and Harvey Lui.
2008 - Dr. David Connell, RepliCel’s collaborator, begins focusing on skin-derived fibroblasts. Dr. Connell hypothesized that the main underlying reason of chronic tendinosis is a deficit of tenocytes (fibroblasts) in the tendon. As these fibroblasts are responsible for producing type 1 collagen, the primary cell type in human tendon, it was theorized that isolation and replication of a source of skin-derived fibroblasts for injection into the injury site could initiate normalized healing. Dr. Connell conducts three Phase I clinical trials using this approach producing evidence that treatment of tendinosis with autologous expanded skin-derived fibroblasts is safe and effective and should be explored in larger human trials. Dr. Connell files patents covering the use of skin-derived fibroblasts for the treatment of tendinosis.
2011 – RepliCel begins collaborating with Dr. Connell on the development of this tendinosis technology. RepliCel expands on Dr. Connell’s approach by isolating fibroblasts from the hair follicle. This was based on the knowledge that fibroblasts from the dermal sheath of a hair follicle can produce upwards of five times the amount of type 1 collagen than skin-derived fibroblasts as pursued by Dr. Connell.
2013 – Dr. Connell’s patents licensed by RepliCel. RepliCel focused on translating these scientific discoveries into a series of pipeline technologies based on the company’s core understanding of the cellular function of hair follicle cells. RepliCel expands patent fillings on new utilization of fibroblasts for tendon.
Clinical trials for RCH-01 treatment for hair loss and RCT-01 treatment for tendinosis in the planning stages, both clinical trials anticipated to commence in late 2013.