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Unilife: More contracts to come for Ocu-ject delivery platform

By Dan Stanton , 05-Feb-2014
Last updated on 05-Feb-2014 at 17:45 GMT

Unilife says it expects more contracts for its intravitreal injection technology Ocu-ject following the signing of a major deal last quarter.

In December 2013, the injectable device manufacturer signed a deal with an undisclosed pharma company for the use of Ocu-ject, previously described by CEO Alan Shortall as a “game-changing delivery technology for ocular therapies.”

During a conference call to discuss Q2 results earlier this week, Shortall told stakeholders he expected revenue from this agreement to commence during the third quarter of Unilife’s fiscal year and a number of other contracts to come.

“The overall market is moving to prefilled syringes,” he said. “Pharmaceutical companies are seeking to provide the best clinical outcomes with their competing drugs and there is no, I repeat, no competing technology to our knowledge that can deliver the small dose therapies with the accuracy and precision of Ocu-ject.”

The technology is designed to maximize the clinical potential of a drug by delivering it to the eye in an accurate, precise manner. Furthermore, the manufacture of the device is customisable with attachable or retractable needles, according to the firm.

Furthermore, Shortall said: “Contract negotiations with a multitude of pharmaceutical companies are continuing across all of our product platforms,” adding many “are at a very advanced stage.”

Liquidity problems

However, the firm’s optimism was offset by questions about near-term liquidity, according to Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Jeremy Feffer.

“Despite receiving a $5m (€3.6m) milestone payment from Hikma [following a deal worth upwards of $40m inked in November ] during the quarter and $5m from Sanofi in Q1 ,” he said in a note, Unilife “continues to manage its balance sheet with minimal margin for error.

“The company exited Q2 with just $6.7m of cash (less than a quarter's worth of cash at the current burn rate), but management noted the next milestone payments from Hikma and Sanofi in Q3, which is also when UNIS expects product revenues to increase materially.”

For the second quarter, Unilife reported total revenue of $3.6m, a 410% over the same period last year. However, the bottom line showed a loss of $16m, $1.5m less than last year.

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