Alopecia is a skin disease characterised by loss of hair on the scalp, face and less frequently on other parts of the body. According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, approximately 6.8 million people in the U.S. and about 147 million people globally are affected by the disease and approximately 2.1% people have a lifetime risk of developing the disease. There are many types of alopecia of which male-pattern baldness is the most commonly encountered type that affects around 50% of males by 50 years of age globally. Male-pattern baldness is a hereditary condition and generally runs in families. Alopecia areata is characterised by patches of baldness. Alopecia areata is caused due to an abnormality with the immune system; however, risk factors for alopecia areata include diabetes, hyperthyroidism or Down's syndrome. Alopecia can also be caused due to the cancer treatment chemotherapy or immunotherapy and radiotherapy. Treatment of alopecia areata include steroid injections; however, creams, gels or ointments may also be used. Immunotherapy is also used in some cases.
Significant growth is expected in the therapeutics pipeline for alopecia in the future mainly attributed to the rising prevalence of diabetes, genetic cause of the disease which means the disease will run in families, new advances in the gene therapy and other treatment options for the disease, rising demand for male grooming products, and rising awareness among general population about the disease.
A number of companies have drug candidates in clinical trials for the treatment of alopecia. Legacy Healthcare SA is advancing its drug candidate, CG428, in the form of a cutaneous solution to assess its efficacy, safety and tolerability in patients with chemotherapy induced alopecia. Polichem S.A. is also testing its drug candidate, P-3074, in the form of a topical solution in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. P-3074 is a topical finasteride which is a type 2 5α-reductase and inhibits the scalp dihydrotestosterone (DHT) potentially minimizing the problem of alopecia. In February 2016, Almirall, S.A. acquired Poli Group Holding S.r.l., the holding company of Polichem S.A. and Polichem S.r.l and Taurus Pharma GmbH), to become one of the top Dermatology companies in the world. Also, CTP-543 of Concert Pharmaceuticals Inc., is in Phase II stage of development for the treatment of alopecia areata. CTP-543 is a selective inhibitor of Janus kinases, known as JAK1 and JAK2 and is intended to be administered as an oral formulation. In June 2016, Allergan plc initiated a Phase II clinical study to evaluate Setipiprant tablets in androgenetic alopecia in males. The study is expected to be completed in March 2018. In addition to the above-mentioned drug candidates, PF-06651600 and PF-06700841 by Pfizer Inc., DA-4001 of Dong-A ST Co., Ltd., FOL-005 of Follicum AB, GI198745 by GlaxoSmithKline plc, LEO43204 by Leo Pharma A/S, and MLE4901 by Millendo Therapeutics, Inc. are also showing promise in the treatment of alopecia.
Some of the major players involved in the development of drugs for alopecia include Pfizer Inc., Allargan plc, GlaxoSmithKline plc, Leo Pharma A/S, Millendo Therapeutics, Inc., Dong-A ST Co., Ltd., Polichem S.A., Berg LLC, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Follicum AB, Legacy Healthcare SA, Neosil, Inc., TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals Corp., Concert Pharmaceuticals Inc., Incyte Corporation, HairDx, LLC, Samumed LLC., Intrepid Therapeutics, Inc.