Unilife CEO Alan Shortall Discusses the Demand for Pre-Filled Syringes


Having an insatiable appetite to satisfy the unmet needs of pharmaceutical companies, healthcare workers and patients is driving Unilife CEO Alan Shortall and his colleagues to attain a position of global leadership in the fast-growing market for advanced drug delivery systems.

The development of innovative device solutions by Unilife, Alan Shortall says, is being driven by “the unmet needs of our pharmaceutical customers.” What is behind the growing demand for the customized, differentiated devices that Unilife specializes in?  “The change from small molecule drugs to large molecule biologics is now driving pharmaceutical companies to seek innovative device solutions that can address specific drug and patient requirements,” says Unilife’s Alan Shortall.

Biologics, explains Unilife CEO Alan Shortall, are created by biologic processes rather than being chemically synthesized. They are used to treat a range of acute and chronic diseases such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and growth hormone deficiency. Unilife’s Alan Shortall says that due to their protein-based structure, most are fragile in nature. As a result, the vast majority of biologics are injected.  The products being manufactured by Unilife, says Alan Shortall, can in many cases help to make the commercialization of these specialized drugs possible. In fact, according to Alan Shortall, Unilife provides “we will partner with our pharmaceutical customers early in their clinical pipeline to develop customized devices that can enhance and enable the commercialization of their pipeline drugs.”

Due to the specific molecular and patient requirements of biological drugs, Alan Shortall reports that Unilife has had several pharmaceutical companies seeking to enter into collaborative partnerships to develop effective drug-device combination products for biologics. This is because in order to gain regulatory approval, most makers of such biologics need a delivery device like those of Unilife, explains Alan Shortall.  “The regulatory approval process will be linked with custom-designed devices manufactured by Unilife,” Alan Shortall states. “What follows such an approval process are long term contracts for manufacturing for Unilife,” says Alan Shortall, adding that this creates significant opportunities for Unilife to become intertwined within the $200 billion market for injectable drugs and vaccines.

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.

Between 2008 and 2010, Alan Shortall spearheaded Unilife’s transition from Australia to a fully based and registered U.S. business. This included the redomiciliation of Unilife by Alan Shortall and associates 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).

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