Virility Medical, which is developing an electrical stimulation patch for treatment of premature ejaculation, has raised NIS 3 million. The company was founded in the Next Generation Technologies (NGT)3 incubator in Nazareth supported by the Israel Innovation Authority (formerly the Office of the Chief Scientist).
Virility Medical founder and CEO Tal Gollan says, "After serving in a number of senior positions in medical device startups, I wanted to found my own company, and I looked at the esthetics sector. When you read about esthetics, of course, you read about botox, and I encountered an article by a Turkish neurologist, who referred to the inducing of paralysis in muscles in order to treat premature ejaculation. When I read this article, it occurred to me that if the muscle was close to the skin, electrical stimulation was likely to get a better reception than an injection into a man's intimate area. Furthermore, premature ejaculation is a problem that people want treat when it happens, not necessarily with a solution that is in effect for 24 hours a day."
Gollan went to work on the problem, and discovered that there are currently no adequate solutions. "One drug has been approved for treatment of premature ejaculation, and is effective to some extent, but it has severe side effects, and the US has not approved it. It is an anti-depressant of the SSRI family. This drug is not registered in most countries for treatment of premature ejaculation; it is administered at the doctor's discretion."
Premature ejaculation is defined as ejaculation less than one minute after penetration, or before it. 79 million men report premature ejaculation in the US alone, and 15 million of them are actively searching for a solution to the problem. Gollan comments, "In the post-Viagra world, we understand that the market for sexual medicine is enormous, and is not necessarily restricted to people with problems; it can also include curious people and those trying to improve their performance."
NGT3 CEO and managing partner Zohar Gendler, who operates the incubator, says, "According to a market survey we conducted, the potential market is substantially larger than the market for Viagra. Our task is to continue pushing the company at the same rapid pace at which it has moved up until now."
"Globes": Will you also aim at the market of people seeking to improve their performance, or only at those medically classified as having a problem?
Gollan: "We'll certainly aim at people seeking to improve their performance. Why not?
What actually causes premature ejaculation, and why is an anti-depressant effective in treating it?
"It's a medical and mental problem. It's genetic in some patients, and sometimes it's acquired and related to mental pressure, which is why anti-depressants are prescribed."
Is your product suitable for all cases?
"All premature ejaculation features cyclical contractions of the muscle that causes sperm to be emitted. This is therefore a bottleneck at which it is possible to intervene in the problem, regardless of the reason why it began. We are manipulating the muscle through electrical stimulation."
How is the product used?
"It is put into the perineum (the area between the anus and the scrotum) as much as hours before the desired activity, where it is concealed. When it is needed, it is operated using a mobile phone app. It does not detract from spontaneity. Most of our patients said that the feeling is tolerable - a tickling that is even pleasant."
What stage have you reached in developing the product?
"We have conducted two clinical trials with about 20 patients in each trial: a safety trial and a trial for demonstrating feasibility. According to these trials, the product is very effective – a delay 3.5 times as long and really negligible side effects. We're now starting a third trial at the Rambam Health Care Campus."
Is it embarrassing to be a startup that treats premature ejaculation?
"People always tell their slightly embarrassing jokes, but who isn't familiar with this problem?"
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on October 17, 2017
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