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MEDICAL : Johnson & Johnson Unit to Market Preemie Catheter Made by Tustin Firm

September 20, 1989|Leslie Berkman, Times staff writer

Luther Medical Products Inc., a small Tustin catheter manufacturer, has signed a contract with a Johnson & Johnson unit to market its device for intravenous treatment of premature infants.

Tate Scott, executive vice president of Luther, said Critikon Inc. will sell the micro catheter under its own label. The product has been sold for about four years under the Luther label.

"Critikon will place their own label on the product and will demonstrate it not only at hospitals but at trade shows," Scott said. "They have got more than 50 salesmen for catheters in the United States alone, while we have none."

Scott said the arrangement should "significantly increase Luther's sales."

Luther's sales for the nine months ended March 31 were almost $1.7 million, up 18% from the same period in the previous fiscal year. During the first nine months of fiscal 1989, the company lost $92,857, an improvement over a $596,482 loss for the same period the previous year.

The improved performance was in part caused by Critikon's marketing of another Luther product, the so-called "stickless catheter," which protects health-care givers from catching infectious diseases from accidental needle sticks.

Luther sold $556,000 worth of stickless catheters to Critikon in its fiscal year ended June 30, accounting for about a quarter of Luther's annual revenue. Critikon is taking steps to begin high-volume manufacturing of the stickless catheter, Scott said.

Luther declined to disclose the value of the micro catheter contract.

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