Pharmaceutical giant Allergan plans to release an eyelash growth stimulator having recently fought a number of alleged patent infringement cases over the drug.
The release of the treatment depends on approval of the application by the FDA and if successful the company believes the product would be available sometime in 2009.
Allergan's drug is based on bimatoprost, a synthetic prostaglandin analogue - the eyelash enhancing qualities of which were discovered during its use as a glaucoma treatment.
According to the company a clinical trial program has been completed demonstrating that the formulation, when applied directly to the base of the eyelashes, results in significant growth.
"We are pleased with the results of our clinical program and believe this innovative product, if approved, could meet a significant and currently unmet demand in the medical aesthetic marketplace," said Allergan's executive vice president of research and development Scott Whitcup.
Allergan estimates this market to be significant, anticipating sales exceeding $500m per year.
Allergen fights patent infringement
With this kind of market it comes as no surprise that Allergan has fought hard to protect bimatoprost and its analogues in a number of alleged patent infringement cases.
California-based Jan Marini Skin Research was one of the companies accused by Allergan, which marketed an eyelash growth enhancing product that the pharmaceutical manufacturer claimed was based on bimatoprost.
Jan Marini refuted the claims but nonetheless removed the product from the market.
Last week the company released its latest lash enhancing offering, Marini Lash.
This is described as a 'non prostaglandin' peptide blend which CEO Jan Marini said is 'an entirely new technology that yields phenomenal results'.
Marini cited continued customer demand as a driver behind the new release saying that although previous products had been removed from the market demand was still ever present.
"There was never an ebb in interest. We were still inundated with inquiries on our web site" she said, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal.