BioWorld International Correspondent

LONDON - Plethora Solutions Holdings, a specialist in sexual dysfunction and urology products, raised £10 million (US$19 million) in a flotation on the Alternative Investment Market in London.

London-based Plethora is the reincarnation of MedPharma plc, founded in 1999 by Mike Wyllie, who was part of the Pfizer Inc. team that developed the impotence treatment Viagra. The company raised £5 million privately, but in the middle of the funding drought in May 2003 failed in an attempt to raise £8 million on AIM. It went into receivership at the end of 2003.

The assets subsequently were acquired by the biotechnology investment firm Merlin Biosciences, which pre-flotation owned 75 percent of Plethora.

Wyllie remains as chief scientific officer of Plethora, while Neil Stafford, chairman of MedPharma, is a nonexecutive director. The CEO is Steven Powell, previously CEO of KS Biomedix plc until it was bought by Xenova Group plc in September 2003.

Viagra was developed originally to treat angina, and while clinical studies indicated unacceptable side effects in that indication, its potential in treating erectile dysfunction was uncovered. The drug's success alerted Wyllie to the commercial potential and high level of unmet need in the sexual dysfunction and urology market, and to the opportunities for extending the label on drugs registered for use in other disease areas for use in that indication.

Plethora's lead product is TEMPE (Topical Eutectic Mixture for Premature Ejaculation), a formulation of two local anesthetics applied in a spray form, for the treatment of premature ejaculation. It has completed proof-of-concept trials. Alongside TEMPE, Plethora is developing SAM (Sexuality Assessment Monitor), a non-invasive medical device that measures time to ejaculation.

A second product, TOPSIN (Topical Phenylephrine for Stress Incontinence), was shown to increase urethral tone without affecting blood pressure in Phase II trials. Plethora also is researching products for treating erectile dysfunction.