Unilife CEO Alan Shortall: Working to Improve Patient Care and Save Lives

In Health and Beauty on August 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm
Unilife Alan Shortall

Unilife Alan Shortall

Presentation Solutions recently sat down with the CEO of Unilife, Alan Shortall, to discuss the growing company.  Unilife supplies customized delivery devices to the pharmaceutical industry.  Originating in Australia in 2001, Unilife’s move to the United States between 2008 and 2010 was spearheaded by Alan Shortall.  This included the redomiciliation by Alan Shortall of Unilife into a Delaware registered Company, and its listing on the NASDAQ stock exchange (NASDAQ:UNIS) in February 2010. Unilife also continues to trade on the Australian Stock Exchange (UNS:ASX).

Presentation Solutions:  We realize that serving as CEO of Unilife, Alan Shortall, you are a busy man.  Thank you for taking the time to speak with our readers.

Unilife – Alan Shortall:  You are welcome.

Presentation Solutions: Knowing your time is short, I will get straight to the point.  What separates Unilife from the competition?

Unilife – Alan Shortall:  Excitement—involved in an entrepreneurial company that is changing the marketplace that isn’t commodity-driven but that they can actually contribute and do something that is going to make a significant difference to saving millions of lives potentially but also actually having a specific input and direction in where the market is going.

Presentation Solutions:  Exciting times.  Let’s step back for our readers and describe just what it is that Unilife does.

Unilife – Alan Shortall:  Unilife was founded in 2002 in Australia.  We’re an advanced drug delivery systems business. We manufacture the device that helps pharmaceutical companies take their products to market.  Since [2002] we have actually transitioned the company where we’ve developed a string of technologies.  We relocated our corporate headquarters to central Pennsylvania in 2008. In 2010 we actually listed on the NASDAQ exchange.

Presentation Solutions:  So Unilife manufactures devices that pharmaceutical companies need to take injectable drugs to market.  What is your business model?

Unilife – Alan Shortall:  Our model for success is our insatiable desire to service our customers. We listen to what they want; we give them what they need. In doing so we absolutely bowl them over by delivering far in excess of what their expectations are.

When you take that element of our business strategy and then you put it in place where pharmaceutical companies are lined up outside our front door asking us to help them come up with solutions for their unmet needs, to be able to actually inject or deliver complex biologics into patients and allow them to get regulatory approval in some cases as well.

Presentation Solutions:  So clearly you are becoming more and more intertwined with the pharmaceutical industry?

Unilife – Alan Shortall:  Yes.  And the beauty for our shareholders going forward is that once our device gets regulatory approval as part of the device-drug combination, it means we are locked in with that pharmaceutical company into long-term supply agreements for potentially the lifecycle of the drug. That gives us a very robust financial model going forward.

Presentation Solutions:  And yet you recently stated that, and I quote, “Unilife is more than just a syringe or device story and company.”

Unilife – Alan Shortall:  That is correct. I did and we are.

Presentation Solutions:  Help our readers understand just exactly what you mean by that.

Unilife – Alan Shortall:  For centuries people have rallied around causes. What Unilife is doing in many ways is an actual cause. It’s attracting high quality people. The quality and caliber of people is attracted in many ways because of our ability to not only be innovative and creative and have fun and the excitement of doing something worthwhile but the idea of being able to actually leave a worthwhile legacy behind. What we are doing is going to help save a lot of lives.

Presentation Solutions:  And you already have evidence of great success?

Unilife – Alan Shortall: Sanofi-Aventis paid us $40M for the five years exclusive rights to negotiate, to purchase the Unifill prefilled syringe from us to June 2014. That gives them first position in two therapeutic classes: anti-thrombosis and vaccines. Apart from those two classes, we can supply the Unifill product to any other pharmaceutical company

Presentation Solutions:  And there is more, correct?

Unilife – Alan Shortall:  Yes, we are currently in discussions with over twenty top-tier pharmas with regard to accessing the Unifill product.

Presentation Solutions:  And this all began with doing what was deemed the “impossible” by the industry?

Unilife – Alan Shortall:  Yes, indeed it was.

Presentation Solutions:  Can you briefly explain what made your devices so “impossible”?

Unilife – Alan Shortall:  Recently we commenced initial production of the Unifill pre-fill syringe which is the world’s first and only fully integrated, retractable pre-fill syringe.  It was deemed impossible because in order to get regulatory approval for using the pre-fill syringe to deliver a drug into the market, a pharmaceutical company must demonstrate that the drug can stay in the syringe for over two years without any negative impact on the drug inside.  Conventional thinking has been that if I was to introduce any kind of a safety mechanism into a pre-filled syringe it would require me putting new components, and therefore new materials, into the fluid path. Pre-filled syringes are made of glass because plastic leeches.   So it would be impossible, nearly, to actually develop a mechanism inside a pre-filled syringe not using plastic.  That’s why I say it was impossible to do.

Presentation Solutions:  And clearly you did that.

Unilife – Alan Shortall:  We did.  We are developing a fully diversified portfolio of other advanced drug delivery systems in direct response to unmet market needs.

Presentation Solutions:  Unilife CEO Alan Shortall, thank you for your time today.

Unilife – Alan Shortall:  Thank you.

Unilife Corporation is a U.S. based developer and manufacturer of a diversified portfolio of advanced drug delivery systems. Since CEO and Executive Director Alan Shortall founded Unilife in 2002, he has been a principal driving force behind the company’s rapid global expansion. At Unilife, Alan Shortall has led the Company in the development, patent-protection and diversification of its broad device portfolio, which includes a best-in-class technology platform of safety syringes. As the leader of Unilife, Alan Shortall has also attracted world-class experts from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries to the Board and executive management team.

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