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Executive Summary

VLI TODAY SPONGE 1986 AD BUDGET SET AT $5.3 MIL., more than twice the amount spent on advertising the contraceptive product in 1985. Last year, VLI spent $2.5 mil. to promote the sponge. Within the scope of the 1986 promotional budget is a six-week run of television commercials, which began appearing on April 1. The Today television ads will appear on independent and network affiliate stations, VLI said. The major television networks are still avoiding national advertising for contraceptives. According to a story board for the television commercial, VLI is advertising the sponge as "safe, very effective and easy to use." The ad also points out that "the sponge protects you for a full 24 hours" and offers a "life with fewer interruptions." VLI's other Today promotions include two six-week runs of radio commercials and year-round printed advertisements. Products in VLI's pipeline include a metronidazole sponge, an as yet unnamed antifungal in a sponge, and a new spermicide. Of the three, the metronidazole sponge is the furthest along in development. Clinical trials with metronidazole for trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginitis began last summer. VLI said it is currently in Phase II trials and expects to begin Phase III clinicals in the "next few months." In March 1984, VLI submitted a petition to FDA requesting permission to submit an ANDA for the product. FDA denied the petition in October ("The Pink Sheet" Oct. 28, "In Brief"). Commenting on the antifungal sponge, VLI said in the annual report that it is "applying for clearance to begin human testing of a drug delivery sponge utilizing an antifungal agent effective in the treatment of vaginal yeast infections." Clinical tests of the firm's new spermicide, RS-37367, are expected to begin in "a year of two," VLI said. Testing of the compound, which is being supplied by Syntex under a development and marketing agreement, is the subject of a three-year NIH cost-reimbursement grant of $948,000. VLI has said it will replace its current Today spermicide, nonoxynol-9, with RS-37367 if studies show the agent to be more effective ("The Pink Sheet" Oct. 28, T&G-4). In October, VLI introduced its second consumer product -- the Today Personal Lubricant. The firm noted in its recently released annual report that the lubricant "represents the first effort to take advantage of the name awareness for the Today family of products."



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