Biosciences firm Intercytex has been awarded $3.5 million to develop a treatment in which hair follicles are removed from the back of the neck, multiplied and then replanted on bald patches.

 

The Cambridge-based company said on Friday that it had been awarded funding from the government's technology programme which it planned to use to develop a robotic system to speed up the process of multiplying the hair cells before they are replanted.

 

Nick Higgins, Intercytex's chief executive, said: "The technology is challenging. No one has done this before.

 

"We take cells responsible for hair growth, multiply them and then inject them in the head. We tease out the cells responsible for growing a new hair. The challenge is to make sure they grow thick enough and quick enough so they are cosmetically acceptable."

 

The hair is taken during a 30-minute operation under anaesthetic, and replanted three weeks later after the cells have had enough time to grow.