Report: Viagra Challenger On the Way


Monday, June 24th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ The head of drug and chemical giant Bayer AG said he expects his company's anti-impotence drug will be available as a competitor for Viagra in the United States by the fourth quarter of this year, a newspaper reported Sunday.


Werner Wenning told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the drug Vardenafil, which is still awaiting regulatory approval, should also become available in Europe next year.

Wenning said he expects the drug to reach 1 billion euros ($971 million) in annual sales, but did not say by when.

The company has been counting on Vardenafil to help its sales after it was forced last year to withdrawal its No. 3 drug, the cholesterol-lowering Baycol, which was linked to more than 50 patient deaths worldwide.

Wenning, Bayer's former chief financial officer, succeeded Manfred Schneider as chief executive officer the month after the company took Baycol _ marketed as Lipobay in some countries _ off the shelves.