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‘Meaningful Revenues’ In 2023 Mark Strategic Milestone As Futura Looks To Future

Executive Summary

Futura recorded its first notable revenues last year, generated by the launch of its Eroxon erectile dysfunction gel in the UK and Europe, marking the company's transition from an R&D startup to a consumer healthcare player in its own right. To mark the occasion, CEO James Barder outlines a new strategy, with a focus on innovation in sexual wellness, further global partnerships and sustained profitability. 

UK R&D firm Futura Medical plc has for the first time generated notable sales, according to the firm’s 2023 results. 

Futura CEO James Barder said reporting turnover of £3.1m ($3.8m) last year, generated by launch of its Eroxon erectile dysfunction gel in the UK and Europe, was a “pivotal moment” for the company.

“The first meaningful revenues generated from product sales and the broader success of the UK launch have been a catalyst for significant strategic progress across multiple markets and we expect this to continue,” he added.

The “move from a pre-revenue R&D company” to a revenue generating consumer healthcare business is “just the start,” he continued.

Key to taking Futura to the next level is sustained profitability, which has been identified as a strategic priority by Barder. While the company generated a gross profit of £1.8m last year, it recorded an adjusted operating loss of £4.2m. A non-cash share-based payment charge – relating to a long-term incentive plan award to staff and directors – accounted for the majority of the loss, alongside higher administrative costs.

Barder's goal was reiterated by Futura chairman Jeff Needham, who said the “delivery of recurring revenues and profits is what the whole business is working towards and is energized to achieve.”

Alongside the focus on profitability, Futura moves forward with a newly-refined strategy. Barder summarizes this as, “To commercialize innovative and clinically proven products for the OTC sexual health market. We will partner with leading consumer healthcare partners who are well resourced to commit significant marketing spend and expertise to engage effectively with consumers.”

With respect to innovation, Barder was tight-lipped on specifics, but mentioned “further launches across the world” and “other range extensions as well as new innovative products within the sexual health category” as priorities for 2024.

In a recent interview, Barder revealed an enticing possibility: applying the drug-free technology that underpins Eroxon – which combines volatile ingredients to create a cooling and heating sensation that increases blood flow to the penis – to female sexual dysfunction. (Also see "Female Sexual Dysfunction, China, Next On The Agenda For Eroxon Creator Futura" - HBW Insight, 7 Nov, 2023.)

‘Huge Breakthrough’

On partnerships, Barder pointed to the June 2023 approval by the US Food and Drug Administration of Eroxon as an OTC medical device as yet another “significant milestone” and a “huge breakthrough” for Futura. (Also see "ED Indication Reaches US OTC Market With FDA Approval Of UK Firm Futura’s Eroxon Gel" - HBW Insight, 20 Jun, 2023.)

“The FDA sets a very high standard in evaluating the effectiveness and safety of de novo medical Devices and I am therefore delighted that we met this standard with our submission of 22 clinical, biocompatibility, human factor studies and performance bench tests which were rigorously reviewed and accepted by the FDA,” Barder commented.

Futura has subsequently signed a $4m deal with Haleon plc to commercialize Eroxon in the US, with Haleon responsible for all investment and activities related to the launch and marketing of the product in the country, according to the terms of the deal. (Also see "Haleon Enters US OTC Erectile Dysfunction Race With Futura Deal" - HBW Insight, 19 Jul, 2023.)

“We believe Haleon, with its strong capabilities in brand-building and marketing through an unrivalled breadth of channels, as well as its connections and market reach, makes the ideal partner to introduce Eroxon to the millions of men with ED in the US,” Barder said.

“We continue to work closely with Haleon on the preparation for the launch which is progressing well and will update shareholders on timings as appropriate.”

Supply Chain

Part of this preparation, Barder revealed, involves shoring up Eroxon’s supply chain in both the US and Europe, where European partner Cooper Consumer Health is continuing to roll the brand out across new markets. (Also see "Futura Extends Europe Licensing Agreement With Cooper For Eroxon ED Gel" - HBW Insight, 16 Jan, 2024.)

To this end, Futura has signed deals with two new contract manufacturers, Barder said, one located in the USA and the other in the EU.

“These supply chain partners will be central to the long-term success of the product, and we are working closely with them to deliver continuity of supply, with a product of high quality at the lowest cost possible,” he explained.

Launch Success

Eroxon was launched by Cooper last April in the UK and in Belgium in physical stores and online and online-only in Italy, France and Spain.

According to Eroxon’s UK distributor Ceuta Healthcare, in the first few weeks the product flew off digital shelves faster than pharmacy chain Boots could restock it, with the product selling at a rate of one every 30 seconds on boots.com. (Also see "‘A Phenomenon’ – Futura’s Eroxon ED Gel Gets Off To Flying Start In The UK" - HBW Insight, 5 Jul, 2023.)

Eroxon now commands a market share of around 20% in the UK’s erectile dysfunction category, Barder claims, which is becoming increasingly competitive thanks to the recent Rx-to-OTC switch of Sanofi’s Cialis Together (tadalafil 10mg) and launches of generic competitors to Viatris Inc.’s Viagra Connect. (Also see "Sanofi Launches OTC Cialis In UK" - HBW Insight, 12 Jun, 2023.) (Also see "Teva UK Enters Erectile Dysfunction Category With First Ever Rx-To-OTC Switch" - HBW Insight, 19 Oct, 2021.)

Since the beginning of this month, Eroxon has also been available on prescription in England and Wales for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

Offering another option for ED sufferers alongside the OTC version availability will “increase the awareness and credibility of Eroxon amongst healthcare professionals,” Futura said.

China Gap

Outside the UK, Europe and US, Futura also has commercialization agreements spanning South America, the Middle East and South Korea.

One missing piece of the geographical puzzle, however, is China. “China is certainly one of the top 15 ED markets,” Barder commented in the earlier interview with HBW Insight. “There's a tremendous opportunity there.”

Futura did have an agreement with Pride Century Ventures, a special purpose vehicle owned by Co-High Investment Management Limited, for the rights to exclusively develop and commercialize Eroxon in China and Southeast Asia.

However, the agreement was terminated due to the latter’s “non-performance of contractual obligations,” according to Futura. 

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