'Female Viagra' maker Sprout agrees $1bn takeover

Sprout Pharmaceuticals's tablet of flibanserin Image copyright AP

Just one day after its libido-enhancing drug gained regulatory approval, maker Sprout Pharmaceuticals has agreed a $1bn (£640m) takeover offer from Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

Flibanserin, marketed as Addyi, has been dubbed the "female Viagra".

It is designed to help women regain their sex drive by boosting levels of chemicals in the brain.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval but Valeant said it should go through by the end of September.

Under the terms of the deal, Valeant will pay $500m when the deal is finalised and a further $500m during the first three months of next year.

"This partnership allows us the capacity to now ensure broader, more affordable access to all the women who have been waiting for this treatment," said Sprout's chief executive Cindy Whitehead.

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Media caption'Female Viagra': Explained in 60 seconds

Previous versions of the drug, which has been criticised for having only marginal benefits, were not given regulatory approval - it was rejected by the FDA twice for lack of effectiveness and side effects like nausea, dizziness and fainting.

But an FDA advisory meeting on 4 June concluded by 18 votes to six that it should be approved.

The FDA said strict measures would be put in place to ensure patients were aware of the risks, including a warning not to drink alcohol with the drug.

It will be made available in the US from October.

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