Premature ejaculation is the most common male sexual dysfunction, causing men to ejaculate in the first minute following penetration. The problem affects an estimated 20 to 30 percent of men, negatively impacting a man’s self-esteem and his relationship with his partner.
Virility Medical, an Israeli medical devices startup, recently announced completion of a successful hospital-based trial for its high-tech solution for premature ejaculation: a single-use disposable patch placed on the skin of the perineum before intercourse.
The patch, controlled by a smartphone application, sends a low-frequency electrical current that contracts the muscle responsible for ejaculation, thereby delaying sexual climax within parameters set by the user.
“According to a market survey we conducted, this has a market potential significantly larger than the Viagra pill,” said Zohar Gendler, CEO of NGT3, the life-sciences VC and technology incubator in Nazareth that took Virility Medical into its portfolio.
“The market we’re aiming at is expected to grow at an annual rate of 10 percent and reach $2 billion by 2020,” said biomedical engineer Tal Gollan, founder and CEO of Virility Medical.
The recent trial tested the system on 20 men at the Clinic for Sexual Dysfunction at Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa and was led by urologists Arik Shechter and Ilan Gruenwald.
Trial participants experienced an average 3.5-fold increase in delaying ejaculation, without any side effects — a dramatic improvement compared to existing solutions, said Gendler. “The innovative and very effective technology of Virility Medical will be a game changer.”
A second trial will begin soon at Rambam using Virility’s advanced prototype, involving 30 to 45 patients. Pending the results of that trial and regulatory approvals, Gollan expects the device to be available for purchase in the next two years.
Better than Botox
Gollan’s background is in engineering cardiac medical devices, specifically artificial heart valves. Looking to start his own project, he investigated the field of medical aesthetics. That led him to read about Botox, a protein that can smooth facial wrinkles by temporarily blocking the nerves that contract muscles.
“I stumbled upon an article by a brilliant Turkish urologist describing how he injected Botox into certain muscles in male mice and proved it was possible to postpone ejaculation and prolong the sexual act,” Gollan tells ISRAEL21c.
“I thought this could be done in a much easier way than injecting Botox. This particular muscle is close to the surface of the skin so it can be stimulated electrically.”
Gollan found no other company pursuing this direction, so he worked intensively with a team of advisers and medical experts over the past 18 months to develop his unique idea.
His research found that existing pharmaceutical treatments for premature ejaculation, including anti-depressants, have proven to offer limited effectiveness and can cause side effects such as headache and nausea, erectile dysfunction and diminished libido. Another type of treatment, a local anesthetic to desensitize the penis, also has limited efficacy and undesirable side effects according to published studies.
“An estimated 79 million men suffer from premature ejaculation in the United States and in the EU, and more than 15 million men are actively looking for a medical solution to the problem,” Gollan says. “We’re bringing a groundbreaking, effective and simple solution, with no side effects compared to existing products on the market.”
Virility Medical has raised NIS 3 million (about $858,000) from NGT3 and the Israel Innovation Authority, and will embark on a second funding round in the coming months.