Pfizer to Sell Penis-Straightening Drug

Last Updated Dec 18, 2008 12:39 PM EST

Pfizer, the maker of Viagra, has struck a deal to sell Xiaflex, a drug that cures curvature of the penis due to a buildup of collagen in the organ's shaft. There's just one drawback to Xiaflex -- it's administered by injection. This site and this site both suggest that the site for the injection needs to be the penis itself, a sure drawback to sales.

Bent PipeCurvature of the penis, called Peyronie's disease, is caused by a buildup of fibrous plaque in the penis. It affects 1 - 4 percent of men. It can cause painful erections, leading to patients withdrawing from sex and becoming depressed. It is most commonly seen in males over 40. You can read a recent study on the drug here and a test of the drug in rat tails -- I kid you not -- here.

BNET's take: Pfizer is spending only $75 million on this deal, which suggests that sales of the drug will be low, due to the small number of patients and their probable resistance to needle-based treatments. So why bother with the deal? Because patients with the condition also suffer from depression and erection problems, and Pfizer has a much bigger franchise in those categories, with Viagra and Zoloft. (Zoloft still sells $135 million per quarter).

Marketing Xiaflex -- with branded or unbranded ads -- will be a good way for Pfizer to drive men to the doctor who are depressed or who have erectile dysfunction of one sort or another, benefitting all three franchises. It's a triple threat for Pfizer because the relevant demo -- men over 40 -- is a target for all three drugs.

Image by Flickr user, CC. UPDATE: The FDA in April 2008 granted Xiaflex priority review for a different condition, Dupuytren's contracture. Ckick here for more.


Market Data

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

Market News

Stock Watchlist

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.

The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App