Unilife cuts workforce by 17% as it shifts from R&D to commercialisation

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Drug delivery Fiscal year

Unilife axes around 50 jobs as part of cost saving plan
Unilife axes around 50 jobs as part of cost saving plan
Unilife has axed about 50 R&D jobs as part of a plan to reduce its operating expenses.

Last month, device maker Unilife launched its Imperium insulin patch-pump platform last month giving the firm a full range of drug delivery products and completing the development stage of its strategy.

 “We've now developed a full and complete product portfolio,”​ the firm’s CFO Dave Hastings said during a conference call yesterday to discuss end of FY 2015 results. “To compliment this new commercialization phase of our business strategy, we've implemented the cost reduction and business realignment initiative effective today. As a result, we've reduced our workforce by approximately 50 employees.”

The jobs affected are mostly R&D-based, he said, adding the cuts represent about 17% of Unilife’s workforce and total headcount will end up somewhere around 250.

“Additionally, we've carefully streamlined operations throughout the company to allocate resources towards current programs and anticipated perspective customer collaboration.”

For the full fiscal year ending June 30, Unilife reported revenues of $13.2m, down 10% on FY 2014. Meanwhile, operating expenses rose 41% to $94m resulting in a net loss of $91m.

But the company has struck a number of deals with Big Pharma over the past couple of years, which could result in potentially large revenue streams.

AbbVie paid the firm a $5m holding fee to assess its drug delivery systems with an undisclosed molecule in February​, and CEO Alan Shortall updated investors, his firm has been selected by AbbVie as a preferred partner for the customization and supply of innovative, differentiated drug delivery systems.

The firm also inked a 15-year wearable injector supply deal with Sanofi last November​ which was described at the time as “unprecedented,”​ and could net Unilife up to $1bn annually.

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