Topical Treatment to Promote Hair Growth

Technology #7604

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Kiminobu Sugaya, Ph.D.
Stephanie S. Merchant
Patent Protection
US Patent 8,791,128

Key Points

  • Topical application to increase cell proliferation for hair growth
  • Induced abundant hair regrowth on shaved areas of skin on mice
  • Potentially stimulating endogenous stem cells within the hair follicle


Researchers at the University of Central Florida are developing a topical treatment to promote hair growth. The active compound is a heterocyclic pyrimidine known as NBI-18. The researchers previously found that NBI-18 stimulated the proliferation of neural stem cells. They hypothesized that NBI-18 could restore hair growth by increasing cell proliferation of endogenous stem cells within the hair follicle. They found that topical application of NBI-18 induced visible hair regrowth on treated areas in shaved mice. Toxicity studies suggested no adverse effects on the mice.

Technical Details

This technology is a treatment for promoting hair growth by topical application of the compound NBI-18. To test for hair regrowth, the researchers shaved mice at four specific lateral/dorsal regions in a circular pattern. NBI-18 was suspended in 50% ethanol (ETOH) at concentrations of 0.75, 1.5, and 3.0 mg/ml and applied to the shaved areas for five consecutive days. On days four and five, Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) (100 mg/kg) was intraperitoneal injected (i.p.) to detect cell proliferation. NBI-18 treatment resulted in predominant hair regrowth on the treated areas with a similar growth to the original length within seven days. Immunohistochemistry showed an increase in BrdU positive cells in all NBI-18 treated regions compared to ETOH controls.

To test for acute toxicity, NBI-18 was injected for seven days at 0, 100, 300, and 1000 mg/kg/day (i.p.). Behavioral testing was performed with rotarod and open field tests to examine the balance and coordination of the mice before, during, and after NBI-18 injection. Additionally, postural reflex and forelimb placing tests were performed to evaluate neurological functions. The brains were also processed for immunohistochemistry. The animals demonstrated no immediate behavioral or neurological changes and no symptoms of toxicity from NBI-18 throughout the studies.

Also, a third-party laboratory performed an Ames test, and the results suggested no mutagenesis or toxicity.

Partnering Opportunity

The research team is seeking partners for licensing and/or research collaboration.

Stage of Development

The compounds have been tested in mice.


  • NBI-18 is stable and easily manufactured
  • Treatment may not require continual use due to potentially increasing endogenous stem cells in the hair follicles

Market Application

  • Hair loss treatment