"Love Hormone" Promises Safer Births After Pfizer Inc. Flop

Published: May 21, 2013

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A hormone treatment based on technology used in Pfizer (PFE) Inc.’s failed inhalable insulin shows promise in fighting the leading cause of maternal mortality. Six years after Pfizer pulled Exubera from the market at a cost of more than $2.8 billion, scientists at Melbourne’s Monash University are revisiting the inhalable technology to deliver a life-saving medicine to stop post-delivery hemorrhage. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is backing the effort to produce a better way to give oxytocin, a brain chemical that helps the uterus contract after birth and is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone” because of its role in orgasm and bonding. The project is one of several testing inhalations to deliver medicines, salvaging the know-how of a product that was taken off the market after just 14 months of lackluster sales.

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