BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : SEPTEMBER 29, 1997 ISSUE
INSIDE WALL STREET

A New Remedy For Impotence

Zonagen (ZONA) is a stock you wish you had stumbled upon earlier this year, when it was trading at 13. It has since scooted up to 33, thanks to its anti-impotence pill, which recently completed its third round of human trials.

Jacqueline Siegel of Raymond James & Associates in Tampa says that at a recent Los Angeles conference on ''Pharmacologic Management of Male Sexual Dysfunction,'' Dr. Ray Rosen attested to the safety and efficacy of Zonagen's product, called Vasomex. (Rosen is the developer of the International Index of Erectile Dysfunction, used by both Zonagen and Pfizer to measure how well such drugs work.)

One New York money manager says the next event to boost the stock will be a filing with the Food & Drug Administration. He also expects Zonagen to sign a pact soon with a drugmaker to sell Vasomex worldwide. ''The company has narrowed its choice of partner from four to two: It will be one of the big ones,'' says Siegel.

Vasomex contains phentolamine, a drug approved for treating high blood pressure. It helps restore a man's natural ability to achieve an erection--without resorting to artificial means.

Rival treatments, such as Pharmacia & Upjohn's Caverject, require an injection directly. Others deliver a tiny pellet into the urethra to stimulate erection. Vivus' Muse system requires a drug to be released into the urethra through an applicator.

Pfizer's product, Viagra, also an oral treatment, will compete head-on with Vasomex. Pfizer is expected to file for FDA approval soon. Pfizer spokesman Brian McGlynn declined to comment on Viagra because of the impending filing. Vasomex bulls say their product has advantages: ''Vasomex has a low rate of adverse reactions,'' says Siegel, based on Rosen's analysis. Doctor Irwin Goldstein, a urology professor at Boston University, says both treatments work.


BY GENE G. MARCIAL

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