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Unilife Rises on Supply Deal with Novartis

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 8:21am

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of medical device maker Unilife rose Tuesday after the company said it signed a supply deal with Swiss drugmaker Novartis.

The York, Pa., company said Monday that Novartis wants to use one of its injectable drug delivery systems with an experimental drug in early-stage testing. Unilife said it will supply Novartis with a customized drug delivery device that will allow the Novartis drug to be delivered to a targeted organ.

The companies did not disclose terms of the deal.

Unilife Corp. said Monday's agreement builds on a partnership with Novartis that began in 2011.

Unilife has announced a string of deals recently. In September the company said it will supply prefilled syringes to French drugmaker Sanofi as part of a long-term contract. Unilife will receive up to $15 million in milestone payments along with royalties on sales of the syringes. The agreement could be extended until 2024.

In November the company said it had signed a supply contract with Hikma Pharmaceuticals that could be worth $40 million through 2015. Hikma will buy prefilled syringes with a range of generic injectable drugs.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Jeremy Feffer said he thinks the agreement with Novartis will extend to commercialization if the experimental drug gets approved, and the companies may expand their collaboration. He said the recent deals are building credibility for Unilife's management.

Feffer rates Unilife shares "Buy," and he raised his price target to $8 per share from $6.

Unilife stock gained 59 cents, or 14.2 percent, to $4.74 in afternoon trading. The shares have more than doubled in value since early May, and in early trading Tuesday they reached an annual high of $5.10.

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