Hair today, gone tomorrow: Hair loss company retracts public statements
A release from Vancouver-based Replicel, which takes “dermal sheath cup cells…from a subject’s own healthy hair follicles,” replicates them “into the millions over a three month period,” and reintroduces them ” into areas of hair loss” with “the anticipated result the development of new hair follicles”:
VANCOUVER, BC – April 27, 2012 – RepliCel Life Sciences Inc. (the “Company” or “RepliCel”) (OTCBB: REPCF) today announces that it is clarifying certain disclosures which were overly promotional, misleading and inaccurate. The disclosures were published in reports available online or delivered via email newsletter, including TheHotPennyStocks.com, hotstocked.com, StockGuru and in other disclosures published by Lake Group Media Inc., and in an equity research report published by NBT Equities Research/NBT Communications which contained certain price targets and a strong buy recommendation. Lake Group Media Inc. and NBT Equities Research/NBT Communications were hired by the Company to build awareness. The Company wishes to make a general retraction in respect of certain disclosures, although the Company notes such certain disclosures were not authorized by the Company. Specifically, the Company wishes to make clear that, given the Company’s current stage of development, price targets and estimates pertaining to expected increases in the Company’s share price, as published in the aforementioned reports are premature and cannot be relied upon. Price targets and dramatic increases in share prices indicated in such publications may never be met and there are many risks and uncertainties pertaining to the Company’s business and shares that may cause investors to lose their entire investment in the Company, including that the Company’s technology may not work as expected and, even if it does work as expected, the Company may be unable to successfully commercialize the technology or protect its intellectual property from competitors. Other risks and uncertainties pertaining to the Company’s business are set out in the Company’s annual report, which is filed on Sedar (www.sedar.com) and Edgar (www.sec.gov).
We asked Retraction Watch friend and TheStreet.com biotech columnist Adam Feuerstein to interpret this for us, since it was a bit different from the sorts of journal retractions we usually cover:
Interesting disclosure. It appears the company hired penny-stock promoters to publicize or “pump” the company but these promoters went a bit overboard with their claims. If I had to guess, regulators started asking questions about some of the claims being made, or at a minimum, the company was worried that regulators would come a’calling. To wiggle out of the problem, Replicel is now publicly disavowing the work of the stock promoters they hired.
The retraction may have little do with the company’s actual results, if a release put out several days later is any indication:
The Company is delighted to report that the six-month interim analysis results support the continued development of DSCC for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. “The assessment of the primary endpoint of the TS001-2009 clinical trial shows a favourable local safety profile for injections of autologous hair follicle cells,” said Darrell Panich, RepliCel’s Vice-President of Clinical Affairs. “We are also encouraged that the early analysis of efficacy endpoints has shown a trend for improvement in hair growth parameters and a statistically significant number of participants showing a treatment response. The results of this first-in-man trial tell us that we are on the right track in developing an effective treatment for people suffering from pattern baldness.”
We’ve asked Replicel for comment, and will update with anything we hear back.
Now if only it were this easy for us to retract our own hair loss…