MARKET REPORT: Drug-making minnow Futura Medical almost triples in value after EU regulators give thumbs-up to its erectile dysfunction gel
Drug-making minnow Futura Medical almost tripled in value after EU regulators gave an initial thumbs-up to its over-the-counter erectile dysfunction gel.
Shares in the AIM-listed group rocketed 155.6 per cent, or 28p, to 46p – adding around £69m to its value, which stands at more than £110m.
Regulators recommended its Med3000 gel should be approved in Europe – a move that would grant it a ‘CE’ stamp that shows it reaches stringent health and safety standards.
This would make it one of the few erectile dysfunction treatments that does not require a prescription and will be the first topical over-the-counter treatment in the EU.
Pills like Viagra that are typically used to treat the condition usually take 30 minutes to work – whereas most Med3000 users see a result in 10 minutes.
The progress in Europe would likely be a turning point for the company as gaining a CE mark often speeds up approvals in other countries and could see the product waved through in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
An EU panel will now need to make a final approval – but this is mostly a formality that is expected to occur by the end of May.
Futura’s gel was originally used as the placebo in a clinical trial, which pitted it against another that contained chemical treatment. But, instead, the placebo performed just as well as its counterpart – which led the company to realise it was the physical effect of men applying the gel rather than the ingredients themselves that were helping.
This meant Futura could class it as a medical device rather than a drug, which has a much quicker approval process. The FTSE 100 finished the week on a low note, dropping 1.1 per cent, or 70.97 points, to 6708.71, while the FTSE 250 fell 0.7 per cent, down 148.25 points, to 21420.31.
Share price falls from London’s two oil majors BP (down 1.7 per cent, or 5.25p, to 306.7p) and Shell (down 1 per cent, or 14.8p, to 1424p) dragged on the Footsie, even as oil prices made big gains.
The black stuff tumbled in value from $68 a barrel to below $63 in the space of a couple of days as fresh European lockdowns made traders jittery about whether this would create a big dent in demand. Brent crude was trading 2 per cent higher at $64.53 a barrel last night.
Investors were gloomy about small deals at Halfords and investment platform AJ Bell.
The bicycle and car-part seller snapped up Kent-based Universal Tyre and Autocentres for £15m.
The group specialises in changing tyres on cars and tractors, as well as providing general maintenance. It has around 20 sites and 89 response vans. Halfords is planning to sell the properties then lease them back – netting it more cash. But shares in the group dropped 2.7 per cent, or 9p, to 327.5p.
And AJ Bell backers were glum about the company’s takeover of a start-up firm, Adalpha, that has mobile phone technology.
AJ Bell did not say how much it paid for Adalpha – but added that the pair are working together to create a simple app-based investment platform, which it will release more details about later this year.
The company has seen an enormous influx of new customers since the pandemic sent stock markets into turmoil more than a year ago – and a key priority now is how to keep them.
AJ Bell closed down 1.5 per cent, or 6.5p, to 417.5p.
Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air (down 3.7 per cent, or 188p, to 4912p) hit turbulence after its chairman – and top shareholder – sold £400m worth of stock. William Franke sold 7.7m shares via private equity group Indigo Hungary and Indigo Maple Hill at 5200p apiece.