Dr. Guinter Kahn, a dermatologist credited with helping develop the first baldness remedy recognized by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, has died. He was 80.
Kahn died Sept. 17 at a Miami hospice, said his daughter, Michelle. His health had been declining since a stroke eight years ago.
Kahn's name was added to the patent for minoxidil in 1986 after a 15-year legal struggle with Upjohn Co. Minoxidil is the active ingredient in Rogaine.
Upjohn originally synthesized minoxidil to treat high blood pressure in the early 1960s. When Dr. Charles Chidsey — one of the company's consultants working at the University of Colorado's medical school — noticed the drug stimulated hair growth, Chidsey went to Kahn and his medical assistant, Dr. Paul Grant. Kahn was running the school's dermatology department at the time.
Kahn and Grant eventually developed a topical solution for minoxidil in 1971. The pair earned royalties, reportedly 2% to 5%, from Upjohn's $200 million of wholesale annual revenue from Rogaine in the late 1980s.
While Kahn benefited financially from his discovery, he couldn't actually use it to treat his own baldness.
"He was allergic to it," his daughter told the Miami Herald. "But he loved tinkering around, doing research."
Kahn was born May 11, 1934, to a German Jewish family in Trier, Germany. He and his family fled the Nazis in 1938 and ended up in Omaha.
Kahn graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 1958 and later completed a medical residency at the University of Miami School of Medicine. He maintained a private practice in North Miami Beach for more than 30 years.
Besides his daughter, Michelle, Kahn is survived by his longtime partner Judy Felsenstein, his son Bruce, his brother Marcel and two grandchildren.