Using a compound that Boehringer Ingelheim abandoned two years ago, Sprout Pharmaceuticals is taking a $20 million step toward developing a drug therapy specifically for hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in women.
The Raleigh, North Carolina-based drug company has raised $17.6 million of a $20 million round of financing, according to a recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Fifty-five investors participated in the offering, which will be used for working capital.
Chief financial officer Matt Petzold declined to comment on the company’s progress, but according to ClinicalTrials.gov, Sprout has already completed numerous safety and efficacy studies in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women with HSDD.
Sprout is working with flibanserin, a compound it acquired from Boehringer Ingelheim, which originally developed the drug to treat depression before discovering its potential to treat HSDD. Sprout snatched up the compound after an U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory committee declined to recommend its approval for Boehringer, which lead the pharma to discontinue development in late 2010.
Flibanserin acts on neurotransmitters in the brain that may (or may not) contribute to sexual dysfunction when imbalanced. The drug has fueled debate over the legitimacy of HSDD, which some psychologists say is a made-up condition for pharmaceutical companies to exploit.