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Pfizer Claims Viagra Spray Patent

January 15, 1999

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) _ Two University of Kentucky researchers touting a Viagra nasal spray may have been beaten to the punch by the anti-impotence drug’s manufacturer.

Mariann Caprino, a Pfizer spokeswoman, said Friday that the pharmaceutical giant already has a patent on a nasal version of the drug and has tested it on humans.

``We’re certainly not ready to speculate in terms of when we’ll have a product out,″ Caprino said in a telephone interview from New York. She added, ``We are moving forward in terms of investigating this as a potential delivery system.″

The two Kentucky professors, Lewis Dittert and Anwar Hussain, say they have developed a Viagra spray that speeds the drug’s entry into the bloostream, dropping the time it takes for Viagra’s active ingredient to take effect from over an hour to five to 15 minutes.

The idea is based on the fact that the active ingredient, sildenafil, can reach the bloodstream directly through the mucous membranes, instead of having to be digested and reach the small intestines before it can be absorbed, as with the current Viagra pill.

The key to the nasal spray, Dittert said, is adding a secret compound to the sildenafil that allows it to remain in solution and be sprayed into the nose.

Dittert and Hussain did not immediately return telephone messages left Friday afternoon seeking reaction to Pfizer’s claim.

Dittert said on Thursday that he and Hussain had discussed their nasal spray with Pfizer officials but had been given a chilly reception.

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