A former Unilife (NSDQ:UNIS) employee who accused the company and its management of misleading investors withdrew a whistleblower lawsuit, apologized for ever filing it and agreed to pay an unspecified amount to settle a counter-claim, the company said today.
Talbot Smith, Unilife’s former vice president of integrated supply chain, accused the drug delivery device maker and its senior managers of misleading investors about a key contract with pharma giant Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) and about the FDA status of 1 of its manufacturing plants. Unilife, which has strenuously denied Smith’s allegations since they surfaced in 2013, has said that Smith offered to settle the case for 6 months’ salary and that it believes his lawsuit was an attempt to extort money.
Today the company said Smith agreed to dismiss all claims and issued a public apology:
“I would like to correct issues arising from claims I brought against Unilife. I now understand that there were no violations of FDA regulations during my tenure at Unilife. In addition, in the summer of 2011, Unilife issued press releases which stated that they had begun shipments of validated Unifill product to customers. I now understand that the production process was in fact validated. Claims I brought were made in error and I apologize to Unilife, its shareholders, business partners and employees,” according to a prepared release.
Unilife general counsel John Ryan said Smith also agreed to pay an unspecified amount to settle its claims against him.
“From the outset Unilife has asserted that Mr. Smith’s claims were entirely without merit and unfairly damaging to our company and our shareholders,” Ryan said in prepared remarks. “We are also pleased that in addition to apologizing to Unilife, Mr. Smith agreed to make a payment to the company to settle our claims against him, that he received no payment as part of the resolution and dismissal, and that his attorney received only a small portion of her fees from our insurer. With this case now behind us, we look forward to focusing our resources fully on the growth of our business.”
A shareholders lawsuit based on Smith’s accusations fizzled in 2014 after no other stockowners stepped up to join it.