Lawsuit Claims 3M Scotched Government’s MRSA Test

By Porton Group, PRNE
Tuesday, June 14, 2011

LONDON, June 15, 2011 -

A company owned by the Ministry of Defence today (Wednesday June
) will launch a High Court lawsuit against the American giant 3M,
claiming that it failed properly to market an innovative MRSA
diagnostic invented by the MoD at its Porton Down research

The MoD company, Ploughshare Innovations, and its financial
partner, private equity firm Porton Capital, are claiming up to
£41m from 3M for failing to ‘actively and diligently’ market their
MRSA test, named BacLite. 3M denies liability and is defending the

BacLite was a high-speed test which enabled hospitals to
identify MRSA infections within five hours, compared to the more
usual 48-hour test procedures. Originally discovered in the
nineties at the MoD’s Porton Down research establishment in
Wiltshire, it was subsequently approved by the UK health
authorities and was first marketed to hospitals here in 2005.

Following early sales success in the UK, in 2007 3M bought
BacLite and the company which the two partners had formed to market
it, Acolyte, for an initial £10.4m. An earn-out clause in the
contract meant that the partners could have been entitled to up to
an additional £41m depending on BacLite’s sales between 2007 and

Ploughshare and Porton’s sales agreement with 3M committed the
American group to develop and market BacLite to health authorities
and hospitals in Europe, North America, and Australia. However,
just over a year later 3M closed the business, following
intervention by its chairman, CEO and President, British-born
George Buckley.

The High Court lawsuit launched today will accuse 3M of
deliberately allowing BacLite to fail commercially by starving it
of competent staff and funds. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges
that 3M mismanaged its application for regulatory approval for
BacLite with the US health authorities, and failed to seek similar
approval at all in other territories.

Harvey Boulter, CEO of Porton Capital, commented - “The failure
of 3M to carry out its contractual obligations and commercialise an
already-proven British invention is a disgrace. MRSA is a
potentially fatal germ which affects hospital patients across the
world. Not only could BacLite have helped reduce patients’ exposure
to MRSA, but the British taxpayer could and should have benefited
financially from the MoD’s invention. Instead, they have been left
out of pocket by 3M’s

Notes to Editors:

  1. Ploughshare Innovations - manages the commercial licensing to
    industry of intellectual property developed by the Defence Science
    and Technology Laboratory.
  2. Porton Capital - is a venture and development capital firm
    which specialises in the commercialisation of technology in
    partnership with the British Government. Porton has approx. $700m
    AUM and has offices in North America, Europe, the Middle East,
    Africa and Asia.

Media Inquiries -
Charles Cook at Attila Consultants on: +44-(0)20-7776-8825 or 07710-910563;
Catherine Nicholls at Tetra Strategy on: +44-(0)20-7881-7784 or 07789-644979.

Health Care / Hospitals News

June 15 News

will not be displayed