May 23, 2009

Pharmacologist Furchgott dies

Robert F. Furchgott, whose research earned him a share of a Nobel Prize and helped lead to the anti-impotency drug Viagra, has died, a daughter said.

Susan Furchgott said her father died Tuesday in Seattle, The Ledger in Lakeland, Fla., reported Saturday. He was 92.

The elder Furchgott was a pharmacologist who, with Louis J. Ignarro and Ferid Murad, shared the 1998 Nobel for physiology or medicine after proving nitric oxide affected blood pressure and blood flow.

Furchgott's discovery that nitric oxide could enlarge blood vessels helped lead to Pfizer Corp. developing the drug sildenafil citrate, which it markets as Viagra. The drug is now produced under other trade names, as well.

Furchgott's first wife Lenore died in 1983, and his second Margaret died several years ago. He is also survived by two other daughters, Jane and Terry Furchgott, four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.