Pressure Increases on 3M to Come Clean About Failure to Market Life-Saving Medical Technology

By Porton Group, PRNE
Sunday, June 12, 2011

LONDON, June 13, 2011 -

Trial to commence
at UK High Court this week

International pressure is mounting on multinational conglomerate
3M to disclose the motives and background behind its decision to
suspend testing and marketing of a potentially life-saving medical

The UK Government begins legal proceedings against the Dow 30
firm this week to seek damages of up to £41m for breach of
contract.  And a former British Defence Minister has joined
global calls for the company to explain why it failed to honour a
commitment to commercialise BacLite, a rapid and affordable device
for detecting MRSA developed by the UK Ministry of Defence.

Former Defence Minister and MP for West Bromwich East Tom Watson
is calling for “transparency” in the High Court of Justice’s
proceedings, due to commence on Wednesday 15th June.

BacLite uses a type of fluorescent light to detect the presence
of the ’superbug’, and has achieved 95% reliability in European
medical trials. It was commercially launched in 2005 by Acolyte
Biomedica, a public/private venture between the investment group
Porton and the MoD’s civilian research arm Ploughshare

Acolyte founder Bill Mullen emphasized Baclite’s ability to
detect MRSA in five hours “before it was able to spread and infect
others within the hospital.” The device’s rapid detection was in
contrast to most existing technology that took “at least one if not
two days.”

3M purchased BacLite in 2007, committing to obtaining US Food
and Drug Administration approval and marketing the device globally.
Instead the company used a new and mismanaged experimental protocol
under which BacLite’s reliability plummeted. 3M subsequently
refused to retest BacLite and pulled it from the market.

An internal 3M investigation identified numerous flaws in the
experiment’s design and implementation. Ploughshare’s CEO Pete
commented on his company’s disappointment that “3M
Corporation failed to get an excellent diagnostic technology into
the market, through what 3M’s own officials describe as avoidable

The High Court proceedings will see the Ministry of Defence’s
civilian research arm, Ploughshare Innovations, and a group of
private investors claiming damages from 3M.

Commenting on the case, Tom Watson MP said: “This is clearly a
matter of public interest, both in terms of public health and also
in terms of the potential earnings lost to the UK taxpayer from
sales of this product.

“For this reason, I urge the court to ensure full transparency
throughout the legal proceedings in the coming weeks, allowing all
documentation and evidence to be made public.”

“The British public has a right to know why such an important,
potentially life-saving UK product became obsolete as a result of
3M’s failure to re-do those vital FDA trials.”

For Media Enquiries Contact Catherine Nicholls on +44(0)7789-644-979 or Charles Cook on +44(0)7710-910-563

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