In 1980 a French pharmaceutical company Roussel-Uclaf synthesized mifepristone (RU-486). In 1981 endocrinologist Eitienne-Emile Baulieu arranged tests of the use of mifepristone with misoprostol to perform medical abortions. In response to antiabortion protests in 1988 Roussel-Uclaf stopped distribution of mifepristone.
Dr. Alan Schatzber and Dr. Joseph Belanoff used RU-486 and related compounds to treat severely depressed patients at Stanford University's psychiatric research department. In 1997 Stanford obtained a patent covering mifepristone and related compounds to treat depression. Schwartzberg and Belanoff founded Corcept Therapeutics in 1998 to license from Stanford University the rights to market RU-486 and compounds to treat depression. Corcept Therapeutics offers just one drug, mifepristone, which is widely known as an "abortion pill" or RU-486. The brand name "Korlym" is FDA approved for the treatment of diabetes and Cushing's syndrome. Cushing's syndrome is a rare glucose intolerance disease with a limited market in the U.S. of approximately 587 patients.
Dr. Christine Ford was the co-author of several studies dealing with mifepristone as a treatment of weight gain and depression. Corcept Therapeutics is involved with research using RU-486 and compounds to treat prostrate cancer and cervical cancer. In 2018 Corcept reported encouraging phase II clinical trial results on relacorilant, a possible successor to Korlym that could treat Cushing syndrome without the side effects of endometrial thickening and vaginal bleeding experienced by some women. Currently mifepristone and misoprostol combination packs are sold on the internet to abort pregnancy. Mifepristone can be used as a morning after contraceptive pill, or with misoprostol as an abortion pill. There over 20 websites which sell abortion pills without medical prescription. Corcept's Korlym is listed as an abortion pill on some of these websites, such as angel.co abortion pills online.
Dr. Steve Johnston