Unilife reveals US move contributed to Q1 loss

By Gareth Macdonald contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hypodermic needle, Insulin

Syringe maker Unilife attributed increased first-quarter losses to higher expenditure, costs associated with relocation to the US and the construction of its new global headquarters and production facility in York, Pennsylvania.

The firm’s deficit for the three months ended September 31 was $7.2m (€5.3), or 14 cents per share, compared with a loss of $2.1m (€1.5m), or 6 cents per share, during the same period a year ago. Revenue for the period increased to $3.5m (€2.6m) from $3.1m (€2.3m).

Richard Wieland, Unilife’s Chief Financial Officer also cited higher share-based compensation costs and increased R&D expenditure associated with the Unifill syringe as a factor in Unilife’s quarterly shortfall.

However, despite the continuing losses, company CEO Alan Shortall was upbeat about Unilife’s performance in the quarter.

“During the first fiscal quarter of 2011, our focus has to be directed towards building our operational capabilities to meet projected demand from pharmaceutical and healthcare companies for our proprietary products,”​ said Shortall.

“We have made progress this quarter towards the completion of our new facility and remain on schedule to move into the new facility next month,”​ he said.

Unilife also expected staff to begin the relocation process during mid-December 2010, with commercial production of the Unifill syringe scheduled to commence during the third fiscal quarter of 2011.

Unilife also took the opportunity to announce the sale of its Unitract range of 1mL safety syringes in the U.S as part of a preferred, non-exclusive marketing agreement with Independent Medical Co-Op.

Unilife's line of retractable syringes is so far the only syringe that allows operators to control the speed of automatic needle retraction directly from the patient's body into the barrel of the syringe where it is locked in place.

The products, which include insulin and tuberculin variants with a five-year shelf life, are well positioned to help prevent the transmission of blood-borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C via needlestick injuries, aerosol dispersal and syringe reuse.

Installation of factory-qualified Mikron assembly line is expected to be completed sometime during the first quarter of 2011 with commercial production commencing during the second quarter of 2011.

York HQ

Work on the 165,000 square facility began in December last year as part of Unilife’s efforts to boost production capacity, particularly for its Unifill ready-to-fill safety syringe range. Wieland revealed the expected total projected cost of the facility was approximately $31m (€22.8m).

Only last month, Unilife were given a vote of confidence by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), who acted as guarantor for its new Pennsylvania manufacturing facility and global headquarters.

Under terms of the agreement, the US government was committed to financing just under half of the construction costs. Unilife had previously secured $5.4m (€3.9m) in grants and loans from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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