Life Medical Sciences Inc., which first targeted its in situ tissueculturing techniques for wound healing, discovered it alsorejuvenated hair follicles and now the company is ready to beginpivotal trials in Europe with a topical treatment designed to restorethe bushy fullness to a bald pate.

Edison, N.J.-based Life Medical Sciences expects to launch thestudies in November 1996 of Piliel for Androgenetic alopecia, ormale pattern baldness.

A freeze-dried version of the product is applied in a liquid form tothe scalp where it is believed to stimulate the growth of new bloodvessels (angiogenesis) and the enlargement of existing ones(vasodilatation), increasing blood flow to the follicles from whichhair grows.

An early clinical study in 1995 in Israel showed Piliel grew hair andreduced hair loss in men and women. The treatment also was judgedsafe.

However, a placebo-controlled, double-blind pilot trial started thisyear in Israel by an independent investigator was discontinued,company officials said, because of "difficulties associated withpatient compliance, data acquisition and precision of photographichair growth analysis."

If the pivotal studies at multiple sites in Europe demonstrate Piliel'sefficacy, Life Medical expects to file for marketing approval by mid-1988. The company has not yet begun clinical trials in the U.S.

Life Medical in May 1996 completed a public offering of 2.3 millionshares, raising net proceeds of $13.4 million. The company registeredfor the equity sale in March 1996. (See BioWorld Today, March 27,1996, p. 3.)

As of June 30, 1996, Life Medical had $15.7 million in cash andreported a net loss of $1.6 million for the first six months of the year.

Piliel, whose targeted U.S. market is composed of 33 million menand 19 million women suffering from hair loss _ has become themost advanced product in Life Medical's pipeline of in situ tissueculturing products.

Cariel, which is targeted for wound healing, was the first applicationof the technique and has been in clinical trials since 1992. It is beingdeveloped for chronic wounds, such as diabetic foot ulcers and burns.

Life Medical's in situ tissue culturing technology uses serum-freecombinations of nutrients and hormones to stimulate cell growth,form blood vessels and improve blood flow directly at the treatmentsite.

In addition to Piliel and Cariel, Life Medical is developing Lipoel toimprove the effectiveness of autologous fat transplants performed inreconstructive surgeries.

The company's tissue culturing science was licensed from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel.

Life Medical also is developing resorbable polymers to preventadhesions from forming following surgery. The company's polymertechnology was licensed from Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Life Medical's stock (NASDAQ:CHAI) closed Wednesday at $8, up25 cents. n

-- Charles Craig

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.