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Smiths out, says Medisys


Medisys has terminated its marketing agreement with Smiths Group for the Futura safety syringe after last week's falling-out.

Relations between the companies broke down after Smiths' chief executive, Keith Butler-Wheelhouse, allegedly made comments at the group's annual results meeting that raised questions about the level of commitment to Futura, which was originally due to be launched in 2001.

Medisys reacted angrily to reports that Butler-Wheelhouse made to the Independent newspaper that Smiths had "almost given up" on the project. The company terminated its 18-month-old agreement with Smiths on Friday and is believed to be in dispute with its former partner over a milestone payment amounting to $1.95 million (€1.7m) that it says became payable after the completion of safety tests .

While the syringe passed the Quality Test Protocol agreed with Smiths, Medisys said on Friday that certain clinical studies had provided data that were inconsistent with the QTP, resulting in a further delay to the project.

The loss of Smiths as a partner presents Medisys with the opportunity to negotiate a deal with another company. However, Smiths was seen as a good partner for the product, as it already sells two safety syringe products and has a presence in the important US market.

The Futura safety syringe meets stringent new US guidelines on products designed to prevent needlestick injuries. It features a needle that retracts into the body of the syringe after use.

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