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Shortall: Unilife has some customers it's not discussing

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York County-based Unilife Corp. has some customers it is not disclosing publicly, Chairman and CEO Alan Shortall said in an earnings call Tuesday.

"We now have 10 customer programs that are generating cash receipts and that number is growing. We have provided information about some of these customers and programs such as Sanofi, Novartis, MedImmune and Hikma," Shortall said. "Several other revenue-generating customer programs are also ongoing that we are not disclosing publicly at this stage for commercial and competitive reasons."

The call came about two weeks after Unilife announced its latest quarterly results; losses totaled more than $3.5 million, but Shortall focused on improvements from the past and what he has repeatedly assured shareholders is the company's brilliant future.

This has been a tumultuous year for the medical manufacturing company, which has yet to turn a profit and is heavily invested in the future. Its stock was below $2 at one point in May 2013 but rallied strongly on announcement of several significant deals and passed $5.50 on March 19 of this year.

"I am often asked about our commercial pipeline and when the next deal is coming," Shortall said. "While it is true that we have a large growing commercial pipeline with a string of additional agreements in process, I would like to make one thing clear:ap Unilife is a successful business with a clear pathway to profitability based on existing supply agreements alone." 

Shortall noted that several of the 10 current programs relate to Unilife's platform of wearable injectors, and that one of them involves a previously announced deal with an undisclosed global company for Unilife's Ocu-ject technology. A significant number of deals also remain in the pipeline, he said.

Looking forward, Shortall said that whereas most of the revenue for 2014 has been based on milestones, development and customization fees, in 2015 Unilife expects revenue based on commercial sales of products to start. He also mentioned that the company's recent $60 million debt financing deal will save Unilife approximately $400,000 per quarter compared to the debt service payments that it used to have.

Asked about capital expenditures, Unilife President and Chief Operating Officer Ramin Mojdehbakhsh said the company expects to finish out 2014 at roughly twice what it spent in 2013 and then double that again in 2015, continuing in that ramp "until we level off at roughly just under $20 million a year in the 2016-2017 time frame." He also said that Unilife expects existing contracts for its Unifill products to generate revenue in excess of $1 billion over their lifetimes.

Unilife trades its shares on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol UNIS.

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