Women’s Health: Moving Beyond Gynecology To Sexuality
This article was originally published in Start Up
Big Pharma’s exodus from women’s health has created opportunities for biotech start-ups, which hope to tap into potentially huge markets. Profiles of Evestra Pharmaceuticals, S1 Biopharma, and Sprout Pharmaceuticals.
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The backers of Sprout Pharmaceuticals Inc. are convinced the start-up has a drug candidate that can help women who’ve lost interest in sex feel desire again: flibanserin, a daily pill that interacts with receptors in the CNS. It was originally developed by Boehringer Ingelheim, which failed to win FDA approval in 2010 for its use in treating hypoactive sexual desire disorder, but Sprout is optimistic the clinical development work it has since put into the compound will help it win regulators’ approval.
Pharmacological intervention for men with sexual dysfunction has become accepted medical practice, but treatment for women has lagged behind. S1 Biopharma Inc. hopes to change that: it was founded with the purpose of identifying and developing solutions for common, untreated sexual dysfunctions that affect women.
Evestra Inc. aims to leverage its managers’ and advisors’ understanding of steroid drugs, then amplify that with expertise in medicinal chemistry, polymer science, and drug delivery. The company thinks it has the potential to create multiple women’s health products based on vaginal ring devices and new chemical entities that could be potentially safer and more effective than known ones.