Boehringer bets on female libido drug

Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim has high hopes for its experimental female libido booster flibanserin. The treatment, which addresses hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or HSDD, has completed Phase III trials; results from those studies will be discussed at a conference on sexual dysfunction next week.

If approved, flibanserin could revolutionize the HSDD market, which is almost completely lacking in therapies. Rather than boosting blood flow--as ED drugs do for men--Boehringer's drug works in the brain by blunting inhibition. According to analysts, the HSDD market could outstrip the $2 billion ED market, which explains why a number of developers are working to develop treatments for the disease. Procter & Gamble, BioSante and Palatin Technologies are all developing therapies for the condition.  

"This drug has the potential to finally open the door to acceptance of the idea that decreased desire can be something that involves a dysfunctional way the brain works, and not only a bad partner," said research Jim Pfaus, a neurologist at Concordia University in Montreal, tells Bloomberg. Pfaus was involved in early animal trials of the drug.

FDA approval of flibanserin would be a major boon to Boehringer; tapping into the HSDD market would help the company offset revenue lost when staple drugs Mirapex and Flomax go off-patent next year.

- read the Bloomberg report

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