Just last week, this publication reported that ‘ambitious’ drug delivery device manufacturer Unilife had signed a $40m (€29.5m) long-term supply agreement with generics firm Hikma. Just days on the firm has signed another deal, supplying Novartis with customized devices for its early-stage pipeline drugs.
The device will consist of syringe, needle, tubing, controller and pump but according to Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Jeremy Feffer details are limited as the “drug in question is still in its early-stage development phase.”
However, he added in a note: “The agreement covers clinical trials and includes an option for exclusivity, but we expect the deal to extend to commercialization when and if the drug is approved.
“We also believe that success from this arrangement may lead to additional deals for Novartis' other injectable drugs.”
The two companies have collaborated since 2011 but according to Unilife this agreement signifies the next phase in the partnership, with the firm generating revenue on the basis of the clinical product supplies and activities involved in clinical development.
Four in a Row
The Novartis and Hikma agreements follow on from deals penned with AstraZeneca offshoot MedImmune and Sanofi earlier this year.
With the Sanofi deal in September, an exclusivity agreement was made for the use of Unilife’s Unifill Finesse device specifically for the delivery of anti-thrombonics, in that case for Sanofi’s drugs Lovenex and Clexane.
With Hikma, the device was a customized prefilled syringe called the Unifill Nexus for a range of genetic products. For the other two deals, details have been sparsely reported by the firms involved, with Novartis telling in-Pharmatechnologist.com it could not divulge financials or logistics of the deal.
According to Feffer, the lack of transparency with the MedImmune and Novartis deal makes it difficult to gauge their value. However, he did say he believed “that this recent activity may help expedite further deals now that four major pharma companies have validated Unilife's technology.”