Toregem Biopharma, a Japanese pharmaceutical startup supported by Kyoto University, is pioneering the development of a groundbreaking drug aimed at stimulating the growth of new teeth, a global first if successful. The startup has plans to bring this innovative dental solution to the market by approximately 2030.
Clinical trials are anticipated to commence around July 2024, involving healthy adult subjects to validate the drug’s safety. Toregem Biopharma embarked on this journey after successfully growing new teeth in mice back in 2018.
In most individuals, there are latent “tooth buds” with the potential to develop into new teeth, in addition to baby and permanent teeth. Unfortunately, these buds generally do not mature and eventually vanish.
The research team at Toregem Biopharma created an antibody-based drug that counteracts the protein responsible for suppressing tooth growth. This drug targets these dormant tooth buds, prompting them to grow.
In 2018, the researchers administered the drug to ferrets, creatures with both baby and permanent teeth akin to humans, and observed the growth of new teeth.
The team has plans to initiate clinical trials in 2025 specifically for children aged 2 to 6 who suffer from anodontia, a condition characterized by the absence of some or all permanent teeth. A single dose of the drug will be administered to these children to stimulate tooth growth.
There is also hope to leverage this drug in the future for adults who have lost teeth due to cavities or other dental issues.
Katsu Takahashi, co-founder of Toregem Biopharma and head of dentistry and oral surgery at Kitano Hospital in Osaka, highlighted the potential impact of the drug.