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Unilife lands long-term manufacturing deal, continues roller coaster month

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Unilife Corp., while dealing with some legal troubles, inked a $40 million supply deal with a British pharmaceutical company for use of Unilife's prefilled syringes.

The 15-year agreement says York County-based Unilife will supply Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC with syringes, and Hikma will then fill the syringes with its own generic, injectable drugs.

Hikma will pay $40 million for the exclusive global rights to the use Unilife’s Unifill brand products. That includes a $5 million upfront payment, $15 million expected to be paid in 2014 and the remaining $20 million in “milestone-based payments” in 2015, according to press releases from both companies.

Hikma will also pay Unilife for product sales. Unilife must supply Hikma with a minimum of 175 million of its syringes every year.

About 20 of Hikma’s generic drugs will be used in the Unilife syringes, and Unilife will start product sales to Hikma in early 2014. The global rights Unifill is granting pertain only to the 20 generic drugs Hikma has listed, but more could be added to the exclusivity in the future on agreement from both sides, according to a press release from Unilife.

“Hikma is one of the world’s fastest growing pharmaceutical companies, and a top three supplier by volume in the $7 billion U.S. market for generic injectables,” said Alan Shortall, CEO of Unilife. “Together with our recently announced long term supply contract with Sanofi, this partnership with Hikma instantly positions Unilife to become one of the largest suppliers of pre-filled syringes in the world.”

It’s been a roller coaster month for Unilife. Earlier in the month it announced it was facing a securities fraud class action suit, but then later announced a new contract with Gaithersburg, Md.-based MedImmune, a global biologics research and development company.

The roller coaster continued, with another disappointing earnings report on Nov. 11 highlighted by an $11.2 million net loss. Shortall said fiscal year 2014, however, is when the company will begin to show “rapidly increasing revenue.”

The company also landed a long-term deal with vaccine manufacturer Sanofi in September that has already paid Unilife $5 million and could pay $15 million in milestone-based payments.

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