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Synova Acquires Rights to Today Sponge Contraceptive, Plans Advertising Campaign

Synova Healthcare on Wednesday after purchasing New Jersey-based Allendale Pharmaceuticals, which markets the female contraceptive Today Sponge, //announced plans to begin an aggressive campaign to market the product, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Loyd, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/17).

The Today Sponge, which is constructed of soft polyurethane foam and is inserted into the vagina for up to 24 hours, provides barrier protection and the spermicide nonoxynol-9 to prevent pregnancy. The device is 89% to 91% effective in preventing pregnancy but does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.

The sponge was introduced in 1983, but sale of the product was discontinued in 1995 because its manufacturer, Whitehall-Robbins -- now known as Wyeth -- did not want to invest in the equipment upgrades necessary to maintain FDA approval. Allendale in 2000 purchased the manufacturing rights to the sponge, and FDA approved it in April 2005.

The Today Sponge had sales of about 250 million from 1983 through 1995 (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 4/25/05). According to Synova, the product costs about $7.99 for a three-pack. Synova plans to begin an aggressive marketing campaign to inform consumers that 'the sponge is back,' Synova CEO Stephen King said.

The first 120 days of the campaign will focus on public relations and Internet advertisements and will be followed by television, radio and print advertisements in May, King said.

He added that the company will target members of the 'ob-gyn community' who are 'unaware this product is back.' Allendale will operate as a subsidiary of Synova and will continue to manufacture the Today Sponge, the Inquirer reports (Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/17).

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

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