Agile Therapeutics and women’s soccer legend Carli Lloyd have a lot in common. They’re both from New Jersey, they’re both passionate about empowering women and they’ve both overcome setbacks on the path to success.
“We think she lines up with our corporate spirit,” Al Altomari, CEO of the women’s health company, said in an interview.
She also has legions of fans—along with a sizable social media following—in the contraceptive maker’s target demographic: young women in their 20s and 30s, many of whom grew up watching the four-time Olympian and World Cup winner play for the U.S. national soccer team.
“For a young company like us, that’s just an incredible reach. We would take years to build that kind of reach,” Altomari said.
So it was a big win when Lloyd signed on as celebrity spokeswoman for the small women’s health company, which has been working since last year to build corporate name recognition and gain a market foothold with its first commercial product, the birth control patch Twirla.
“Our short-term goal is to establish Twirla in the contraceptive market, and our long-term goal remains the same: Build a robust women’s health franchise, and Carli is a critical piece of that puzzle,” Altomari said in a news release announcing the partnership last week.
A bit of luck played a role in recruiting the soccer phenom, who is hanging up her cleats for good later this month. When her name first came up as a possible spokesperson, one of Agile’s board members mentioned that he knew Lloyd, a fellow New Jerseyan who lives not far from the company. So Agile reached out to her agent, and, when both parties got to talking, they discovered their values lined up.
Altomari said the company was drawn to Lloyd’s personality and her “always believe” attitude. In her autobiography, "When Nobody Was Watching: My Hard-Fought Journey to the Top of the Soccer World," she writes about being cut from the national under-21 team after a coach told her she wasn’t good enough.
He also thinks Lloyd’s fight for equal pay for female athletes will resonate with young women. The HBO-CNN documentary ”LFG” chronicles the team’s gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation.
“She’s gritty, and never gives up,” said Altomari; that’s also how he sees his company, which has 35 employees in-house and contracts with 80 sales reps in the field.
Agile received two FDA complete response letters for Twirla in 2013 and 2017 before finally winning approval for the once-a-week dual hormone patch in February 2020. The approval came after Agile addressed agency concerns about adhesion issues.
Lloyd’s work for Agile will initially revolve around social media and live events. The unbranded campaign is still being developed but aims to bring awareness to women’s health topics.
“Agile’s focus on bringing women options and knowledge when it comes to their healthcare decisions is a mission I’m proud to be a part of,” Lloyd said in a news release. “And the fact that I’m a Jersey girl representing a New Jersey company makes it even better.”
She plays her final game for the U.S. team Oct. 26 against South Korea.