British Firm Tests Inhaled Anti-Impotence Drug

LONDON (Reuters) - Privately owned British drug delivery company Vectura Ltd. said on Tuesday it was starting Phase II clinical trials to test the effectiveness of an inhaled drug for treating impotence.

“It is anticipated that drugs delivered though the lungs will have a faster onset of action than drugs delivered orally,” the company added in a statement.

Pfizer Inc’s famous blue diamond-shaped Viagra pills have transformed the treatment of erectile dysfunction since their introduction five years ago, triggering a race among drug companies to find rival medicines.

Vectura declined to identify the drug molecule involved for competitive reasons but said it hoped to license out the product in 2005, once it had built up a strong clinical database.

Vectura employs over 100 staff in Bath and Cambridge. Its pipeline also includes inhaled drugs for epilepsy, cystic fibrosis and asthma.

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