UK company Medisys has confirmed that it will move ahead with the launch of its Futura safety syringe product on its own and should be filling customer orders in the second quarter of 2004.
The decision comes in the wake of an acrimonious dispute with the company's former partner for the project, Smiths Group. In September, Medisys terminated a co-marketing arrangement with Smiths after the latter's chief executive publicly complained in the press about delays in the development of the retractable syringe at an analysts' conference.
Medisys is currently pursuing a £1.95 million (€2.77m) milestone payment that it says is due from Smiths for development completed ahead of the termination of the contract.
In its annual results statement for the year-ended 30 September, Medisys said it has completed pre-marketing trials of the product designed to obtain data on the performance of the Futura syringe in a wide range of clinical settings.
"The results from the completed trials were encouraging with the clinicians who participated expressing a high degree of satisfaction and 76 per cent indicating that they would use the device," said the firm.
Studies have also been completed internally to benchmark the Futura syringe against the leading retractable safety syringe currently being marketed in the US. The results suggest that the Futura product is comparable to the competing product, said Medisys, despite the fact that it will cost less.
The Futura syringe will be presented to Medisys 40-strong sales force in mid-December, and detailing efforts will start thereafter. The product will be marketed in newly-designed packaging under the FuturaSafety Syringe brand.
Analysts expressed concerns that Medisys does not have the sales capability to handle the product on its own, and the company stressed that it is continuing to seek out commercial partners for the device to bolster its own efforts.
Medisys, which also manufactures and markets products such as glucose monitoring kits, reported a pretax loss (before exceptional items) of £2.5 million on turnover for the year of £39.6 million, up 11 per cent. A cost-reduction programme helped trim the loss from £19.6 million in 2002.