Allergan Inc., makers of the plastic surgery drug Botox has entered their eyelash treatment into second clinical stage testing. The company hopes to use the eyelash lengthening substance to treat baldness.
Allergan CEO David Pyott says testing with full results will be available by the middle of 2012.
Known as Latisse the product was approved for use in eyelash growth in 2008, generating $82 million last year alone. The company is currently testing the drug on men and women, using a placebo to test results.
The move to push their drug into a new demographic shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who follows the company’s progress, Botox was originally approved for therapeutic uses in 1989 and after wrinkle-smoothing properties were discovered the company worked to have the drug approved for cosmetic purposes, generating $1.42 billion in 2010.
The company expects Latisse to gain upwards of $200 million to $500 million in annual sales by 2020 if tests prove that it can grow hair in patients.
In a phone interview with Bloomberg Ronny Gal, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co noted:
“It will grow hair from the existing follicle, and help you maintain the hair you’ve got,” while adding, “It’s clear it works in principle, because we know it grows eyebrows and we know it grows lashes.”
It will be interesting to see if Latisse can etch out market share against Rogaine and other familiar men’s and women’s hair treatment programs already available on the market, although it could be 2013 before the product even reaches market and only then if tests are proven successful.