Amgen will develop Unilife’s injectable drug delivery systems under a collaboration that has already generated $15 million and could yield up to an additional $75 million or more for Unilife. The collaboration includes licensing, investment, development, and a supply agreement focused on Unilife's portfolio of prefilled, customizable, wearable injectors for medicines.
The agreement comes more than five months after Unilife hired Morgan Stanley to conduct a review of strategic alternatives—a review Unilife said in September would include “a strategic partnership with one or more parties or the licensing of some of the Company's proprietary technologies,” as well as a possible sale of the company.
Under the agreement with Amgen, Unilife agreed to grant the biotech giant exclusive rights to its wearable injectors within undisclosed drug classes while retaining for itself rights previously granted to other Unilife customers. Unilife also agreed to grant Amgen non-exclusive rights to all Unilife delivery systems within oncology, inflammation, bone health, nephrology, cardiovascular, and neuroscience specialties.
“Unilife looks forward to a long-term strategic collaboration with Amgen to drive value for patients, prescribers, and payers,” Ian Hanson, svp and general manager of Unilife's wearable injector business unit, said in a statement.
Amgen agreed to pay Unilife a $20 million nonrefundable license fee, as well as buy from Unilife $30 million in 6% senior secured convertible notes due 2023. Amgen also has the option to buy an additional $25 million in 6% senior secured convertible notes due 2023 over the next two years–$15 million in January 2017 and $10 million in January 2018. The up-to $75 million is in addition to the $15 million Amgen paid Unilife on December 31, 2015, when it entered into an exclusivity letter in connection with the collaboration.
Unilife added that it expects to generate future revenue from the collaboration with Amgen. The collaboration includes a master development and supply agreement covering the development, production, and supply of Unilife delivery systems. According to Unilife, the development programs will commence in 2016.
“One important pillar of Amgen's strategy is to invest in leading drug delivery technologies to more effectively meet the needs of patients suffering from serious illnesses,” stated Alison Moore, Amgen’s svp of process development. “Unilife continues to develop technology that could provide patients with innovative and meaningful enhancements to drug administration.”