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Wearable drug delivery tech firm Unilife files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

By Gareth MacDonald+

20-Apr-2017
Last updated on 20-Apr-2017 at 13:02 GMT2017-04-20T13:02:24Z

iStock/pkstock
iStock/pkstock

Unilife Corporation has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and confirmed that a key customer for its wearable injectors business has halted a project.

The US wearable drug delivery device and syringe maker filed for Bankruptcy on April 12 explaining that it intends to restructure its balance sheet or sell its assets as a going concern.

The firm said it has obtained a commitment for a $7.5m debtor-in-possession financing facility underwritten by an affiliate of OrbiMed Advisors that "is expected to provide sufficient liquidity during the chapter 11 cases to support the company’s continuing business operations and minimize disruption."

The Bankruptcy filing comes weeks after Unilife sacked 51 people employees at its York and King of Prussia manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania citing mounting losses as the basis for its decision.

At the time Unilife also said it had "received notice from a key customer for wearable injectors that such customer is putting a program with the Company on hold for reasons unrelated to the Company’s products.

The firm added that: "Given the relative importance of such program, such delay may negatively impact the Company’s ability to obtain financing or the amount of financing the Company may be able to obtain."

Strategic changes

Unilife has been refocusing its business for some time.

In March last, the firm reorganised its business into two units: a wearable and auto-injectors division; and a prefilled syringe unit.

The month also saw then CEO Alan Shortall and COO Ramin Mojdeh step down.

In subsequent months  both were investigated in connection with “violations of the Company’s policies and procedures and possible violations of law and regulation.”

Wearables

In November Unilife announced its intention to wind down its prefilled syringe business, which counts Hikma  and Sanofi  among its customers.

At the time CEO John Ryan said: “We have assessed our market opportunity and we believe that our brightest future is as a company focused on wearable injector technology.”

Unilife has wearable drug delivery technology deals with AmgenSanofi  and MedImmune , the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca.

In 2015 , AbbVie signed a strategic deal that granted it access to all of Unilife’s delivery technologies.

Click here  to register for our free Drug Delivery Online Conference streaming today, April 20, 2017, in which we will discuss the key challenges and innovation in the delivery of small land large molecules drugs with experts from Recipharm and Juniper Pharma Services.

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