VLI Corp. Inc., the Irvine manufacturer of the Today contraceptive sponge, said last week it will begin tests on about 600 women to study how well the sponge can deliver medication to treat yeast infections, one of the more common types of vaginal infections.
VLI said it recently received approval for the tests from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The therapeutic sponge will be tested in 15 to 20 clinics nationwide.
The project is a result of a licensing agreement between VLI and Siegfried Ltd. of Zofingen, Switzerland. Siegfried has granted VLI exclusive licensing to develop, manufacture and market in the United States a sponge product using oxiconazole nitrate as an anti-fungal medication in the sponge. Oxiconazole, which is a new anti-fungal agent, has been approved in Germany and Switzerland.
VLI, a 10-year-old company, said it expects that the anti-fungal sponge will be available here by prescription by 1988.
The tests mark VLI's second clinical trials of a sponge formulated to treat vaginal infections. Last year, VLI began testing a sponge containing the drug metronidazole to treat bacterial vaginosis, the most common vaginal infection. That testing is now in the last of the three stages required for FDA approval and is expected to hit the U.S. market in 1988. European countries may approve it for marketing before then, the company said.