Can hair loss be reversed with Oxy133, a sterol based drug candidate?

MAX BioPharma
Pacific Palisades, California
DOI: 10.18258/11042
Raised of $2,900 Goal
Funded on 9/13/18
Successfully Funded
  • $2,962
  • 102%
  • Funded
    on 9/13/18

Project Results

Thanks to the support we received from our friends, MAX BioPharma was able to conduct a study to explore the effects of oxysterol on hair growth in a very humane mouse model.  Our observations from this study are significant and crucial in our ability to decide what additional studies will be needed to further pursue the use of oxysterols in hair growth indications.  We hope to have future observations to share about this topic in the near future.  Cheers.

About This Project

Hair loss can affect both men and women, often leaving a negative impact on the affected person’s life. Stem cells associated with hair follicles drive normal hair growth but lie dormant in bald spots. We propose to test topical applications of Oxy133, a drug candidate that can safely increase Hedgehog signaling, in a mouse model of hair growth. We hypothesize that dormant hair stem cells will be stimulated by Oxy133, resulting in increased hair growth in mice and (eventual) human testing.

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What is the context of this research?

Available drug treatments for hair loss (Propecia, Avodart or Rogaine) are modestly effective at best and often plagued by unpleasant side effects. In male pattern baldness, hormonal and other factors lead to a shortened growth (anagen) phase of the hair follicle, resulting in deactivated hair stem cells and diminished hair growth. To regrow lost hair, it may be possible to reactivate dormant hair stem cells by stimulating their cellular signaling. The Hedgehog signaling pathway provides a cellular signal crucial for hair growth that can trigger hair follicles to reenter an active growth phase. At MAX BioPharma, a startup company based in Santa Monica, California, we have developed Oxy133, a drug candidate that can stimulate Hedgehog signaling through a safe ‘allosteric’ mechanism.*

What is the significance of this project?

It is estimated that 40 million Americans suffer from hair loss.* Most hair loss is actually caused by a lack of hair regrowth rather than the increased shedding of hair. Available treatment options typically work far better to prevent further hair loss than to regrow lost hair. This project will address the question whether Oxy133 can safely stimulate hair stem cells in mice and trigger increased hair regrowth. In principle, this application could translate into a hair growth treatment for humans, as Hedgehog signaling functions similarly across species.* Successful experimental outcomes would then allow us to partner with pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies, as well as investors, to further develop the drug and advance to human testing and eventual commercialization.

What are the goals of the project?

The immediate goal of the project is to test the ability of Oxy133, a sterol based activator of Hedgehog signaling, to enhance hair growth in mice through topical application of the compound, a simple but effective model of hair regrowth. We believe that Oxy133 is highly suited for dermatological applications due its high solubility in skin oil. If successful, this pilot study will provide data that can be presented to potential industry partners and investors who will help us develop the technology for commercialization. The long term goal of this project is to offer a new, safe and effective treatment option to people suffering from hair loss.


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There are standard costs that go along with animal experimentation. $5,000 would cover all costs from creating more of the drug candidate for use, housing the mice, paying the scientists, applying the drug, recording the results, and maintaining the lab.

Endorsed by

The project is important as it will teach us about the effects of Oxy133, an oxysterol, on hair growth in mice, a crucial first step in finding a new treatment for hair loss in people. As the Director of Molecular & Cellular Biology at MAX Biopharma, I enthusiastically endorse this project.

Project Timeline

The study will take about 2 months from start to finish. Mice will be purchased from commercial vendors, we will shave their backs and apply the drug candidate daily at two doses for 3 weeks to observe and document hair growth patterns. At the end of the study, if hair regrowth is enhanced with our drug candidate, as we anticipate, we will carry out histological examination of the skin and hair follicles.

Jul 30, 2018

Project Launched

Sep 03, 2018

Start Experiment

Nov 02, 2018

Finalize Experiment and Analyze Results

Nov 12, 2018

Final Report

Meet the Team

Farhad Parhami
Farhad Parhami
Ph.D, MBA, Founder, CEO


MAX BioPharma Inc., UCLA
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Team Bio

At MAX BioPharma, we aim to realize the therapeutic potential of a previously understudied group of lipid molecules, so-called oxysterols, and understand their role in human health and disease. Leveraging combined expertise in the fields of cellular biology, lipid biochemistry and drug discovery, we work to build a new generation of therapeutic agents that can address a number of unmet medical needs.

Farhad Parhami

Dr. Farhad Parhami worked at UCLA as a biomedical researcher and Professor of Medicine for over 22 years. While at UCLA, Farhad studied the effects of certain sterols, including cholesterol and oxidation products of cholesterol, so called oxysterols, on cellular signaling, and physiological and pathological responses of cells to environmental signals that define health, survival and disease. In recently published studies, Farhad and his team at MAX BioPharma Inc. ( showed that a specific oxysterol compound, designed by the company scientists, has very potent anti-inflammatory effects when applied to immune cells called macrophages in vitro. The team also reported that this oxysterol drug candidate exerts anti-inflammatory and disease inhibitory effects in preclinical animal models of fatty liver, atherosclerosis, and obesity related inflammation, while having an excellent safety profile. Since macrophage activation is the first event in triggering psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (PsA), the team investigated the ability of its drug candidate to inhibit stimulation of macrophages by mannan, a sugar molecule that when given to mice causes all the symptoms and PsA including skin lesions and joint disorders. The team is now hoping to test this very promising drug candidate in a mouse model of PsA that shows the manifestations of the human disease (The Mannan Induced Psoriatic Arthritis (MiP) Model in Mice | Redoxis). If successful, this will allow the company to take the next steps toward human clinical trials, with the hopes that its anti-inflammatory, orally bioavailable drug candidate, which acts differently than the available drugs for PsA (including Enbrel and Cosentyx) will help many patients who suffer from psoriasis and PsA in the future.

Additional Information

Oxy133 Reference:

Hair Loss Reference:

Project Backers

  • 23Backers
  • 102%Funded
  • $2,962Total Donations
  • $128.78Average Donation
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