pounds 20m delay to skin product

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A REGULATORY setback over a foot treatment made from babies' foreskins will cost Smith & Nephew pounds 20m over the next two years, the healthcare group revealed yesterday.

The company said that the US regulators' request for more clinical trials would delay the launch of Dermagraft, its artificial skin used to treat diabetic foot ulcers, to 2000 - two years later than expected. Novartis is set to launch a similar product at the end of 1999.

Smith & Nephew reported an 11 per cent fall in interim profits to pounds 72m. The shares fell 4p to 155p.