OSAKA -- Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd. said Wednesday it has developed a synthesized protein that can help reactivate dormant hair root cells.

Japan's largest electric cable maker hopes to launch a hair-loss remedy based on the substance around 2010 by teaming up with other pharmaceutical firms, the company said.

The prospective remedy should be more efficient than conventional hair-growth drugs, which work indirectly on hair root cells by facilitating blood flow around them, company officials said.

Sumitomo Electric named the substance EPM. It is a part of epimorphin, a protein that can help regenerate human tissue.

Baldness can occur when hair root cells become dormant. EPM can treat this type of baldness by helping to reactivate the cells, the officials said.

The company said it has conducted an experiment on shaved mice.

Mice that received no EPM regained an average of 5 percent of their hair in 35 days. But mice that received a daily application of the drug grew an average of 90 percent of their hair back, they said.

The officials said EPM can be synthesized artificially, making it possible to mass-produce the drug.

Sumitomo Electric entered the biotechnology market in the early 1980s. EPM is the first biomedical substance it has developed, the company said.