The top drug delivery partnerships of 2013

In the biotech and pharma industries, drug delivery is a crucial aspect of research and development. Finding new ways to deliver old drugs, ways to make a new drug more efficient or ways that make a patient's life easier could all give a company a leg up on its competitors. But with the amount of R&D time and money needed to innovate in the field, it's often left to smaller specialty companies--and their partnerships with Big Biotech and Big Pharma--to bring these new techniques to the market.

In 2013, several big deals went down, often with a giant in the industry licensing technology from a smaller, specialty outfit dedicated to a particular space. And many of these deals offer insight into trends in the industry, such as Unilife's ($UNIS) sales of wearable injectable devices, Bind's ($BIND) nanotech licensing for targeted cancer drugs and, most readily, The Medicines Co.'s ($MDCO) purchase of an RNAi prospect from Alnylam ($ALNY), whose technology has already in 2014 gained another partnership from Sanofi ($SNY) to the tune of $700 million. This partnership alone had the industry buzzing with prospects of an RNAi therapeutic "comeback" after delivery issues plagued the concept for almost a decade.

Below are several of the bigger deals of this past year, in no particular order. As with many partnerships like these, most hinge on milestones down the road as opposed to a huge upfront payment. The promised funds add up to more than $2.3 billion, not including the amounts that have been kept under wraps. Of course, as with any list like this, it is not comprehensive but represents trends in the industry. If you have recommendations or questions, please don't hesitate to contact FierceDrugDelivery.

Thank you, and stay tuned for more partnerships in 2014.

-- Michael Gibney (email | Twitter)

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