Unilife signs $40M deal to supply Hikma with prefilled syringes

Unilife's Unifill prefilled syringe--Courtesy of Unilife

Unilife ($UNIS) took another big step this week, signing a long-term contract agreement with generics maker Hikma Pharmaceuticals to use Unilife's injectable technology and netting up to $40 million in the process.

Hikma will pay Unilife $40 million in upfront and milestone payments, including $5 million upfront and $15 million in 2014. The year after that, Unilife stands to gain $20 million more in milestone payments, and, according to the agreement, Unilife will supply a minimum of 175 million units of its Unifill syringes per year.

Unilife's Unifill platform of prefilled syringes is the only one in the world with automatic and integrated needle retraction, according to the company. It is designed for use by healthcare workers or self-injecting patients with its precise dosage controls and its needle which pulls back into the device. It is also compatible with standard-sized prefilled medications.

"Unilife has developed a full range of innovative and highly differentiated syringes under our Unifill platform to accommodate the needs of all prefilled biologics, drugs and vaccines," CEO Alan Shortall said in a statement. "This strategic partnership with Hikma enables us to rapidly penetrate the large and fast-growing market for generic injectables."

Unilife has been attracting a number of big clients in the field, including Sanofi ($SNY) for the use of Unifill and, just last week, AstraZeneca's ($AZN) MedImmune to deliver large molecules via Unilife's line of wearable injectable devices.

Shortall told FierceDrugDelivery last week after discussing the MedImmune deal that another big agreement would follow shortly, though he kept mum on details.

"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," Shortall said. "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 prefilled syringes in the world."

- here's the release

Editor's note: This story was updated with information from Unilife regarding the terms of the agreement at $40 million.