67 WALL STREET, New York - March 19, 2012 - The Wall Street Transcript has just published its Medical Devices Report offering a timely review of the sector to serious investors and industry executives. This special feature contains expert industry commentary through in-depth interviews with public company CEOs, Equity Analysts and Money Managers. The full issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.
Topics covered: Stable Utilization and Personal Health Expenditures - Continued Pricing Pressure - Medical Device Excise Tax - Multinational Penetration in Emerging Markets
Companies include: Cardinal Health (CAH); Positron Corporation (POSC); Abiomed (ABMD); ArthroCare (ARTC); Baxter (BAX); and many more.
In the following brief excerpt from the Medical Devices Report, expert analysts discuss the outlook for the sector and for investors.
Alan Shortall is the Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of Unilife Corporation, a U.S.-based medical device and technology company that designs, develops, manufactures and supplies differentiated delivery systems for injectable drugs and vaccines. Since 2002, Mr. Shortall has led the growth of the company's products into a diversified portfolio of drug-delivery systems. He spearheaded the transition of the Australia-founded company into a registered U.S. business listed on the Nasdaq. It continues to be traded on the Australian Stock Exchange. He has overseen the construction of a 165,000-square-foot headquarters, R&D and manufacturing facility in York, Pa. In 2008, Mr. Shortall was named to the list of 100 Notable People in the medical device industry by trade magazine Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry. In January 2010, he was profiled in Drug Delivery Technology magazine.
TWST: Would you start by giving us an overview of Unilife, its history and its activities?
Mr. Shortall: We design, develop and manufacture innovative drug-delivery systems. In particular, we have a patent-protected portfolio of safety syringes, which have significant functional and safety feature advantages over the current generation of safety syringes in the marketplace. This market space is being driven by legislation, which mandates user safety in all health care facilities. But having said that, this is not a syringe story and it's not even just a device story. We are actually right on the cutting edge of the convergence of therapeutics and devices. In fact, we are in a very unique position whereby we can help to protect billions of dollars of revenue annually for pharmaceutical companies. We can enhance, protect and save the lives of health care workers. We can improve patient care, and at the same time, reduce health care costs plus drive commensurate revenues and profits for our shareholders. Our technology has already been validated by one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, Sanofi. Sanofi has paid $40 million to Unilife (UNIS)for the five-year exclusive right to negotiate for the purchase of our Unifill prefilled syringes in two therapeutic classes.
TWST: Would you describe some of the devices Unilife has on the market now?
Mr. Shortall: We talked about syringes, which are used for drawing a drug from an ampule or vial and injecting it into the patient. Each one of our syringe technologies has two common features, automatic and controlled retraction. Those two features make our syringe technology unique and best in the world. Needlestick injuries can be reduced significantly, and possibly eliminated, by using our devices. Interestingly enough, there is a law in place in the U.S. called the Needlestick Prevention Act, and Europe is following suit, that mandates user-safety syringes in all health care facilities. Now the scary thing about this is that the law, which has been in place since 2002, and enforced by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, has not significantly decreased the number of needlestick injuries. Even though 93% of the U.S. market is using safety syringes or devices to prevent needlestick injuries on ordinary syringes, the number of needlestick injuries is pretty much the same as it was when that law went into effect. That clearly demonstrates that the devices currently in the market are not meeting the requirements to keep health care workers safe.
TWST: How competitive is this market? Aren't there others looking at alternatives to the hypodermic needle and the delivery technology?
Mr. Shortall: Yes, but they are a long way off. Apart from things like nicotine patches, no other company has really been able to actually come up with an alternative to an injection. Unilife's perspective is that there will be a market shift in response to the thousands of biologics in the pipeline. These drugs with large molecules must typically be introduced to the body through direct injection. Patches are not going to deliver them. Many of the biologics require large doses, because by the time they are diluted enough to introduce them in a liquid form into the body, there can be as much as 5 mL, 10 mL or 15 mL. That is a large amount of liquid to try to introduce through subcutaneous injection into fat folds in the stomach or other areas of the body. The subcutaneous injection is safer for patient self-injection. Consequently, pharmaceutical companies need devices to help deliver these very complex drugs.
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