Unilife puts Conewago Twp. HQ on the market
- The Conewago Township medical device manufacturer is looking to sell its corporate headquarters/production facility.
- Unilife built the facility in 2010, with more than $15 million in state and federal funding.
After announcing a net loss of more than $100 million amid struggling stock prices, York-based Unilife Corp. has put its corporate headquarters up for sale.
Unilife, a developer and commercial supplier of injectable drug-delivery systems in Conewago Township, put its nearly 160,000-square-foot facility on the market in December, a month after the company’s president and CEO, John Ryan, told investors to “expect a significant decrease in our operating expenses” for the fiscal year that runs from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017.
Unilife’s facility, located at 250 Cross Farm Lane, sits on a 38-acre lot and boasts more than 120,000 square feet of warehouse space, 10 loading docks and more than 230 parking spaces, according to the property listing by real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield.
Realtor Patrick McBride said there is a “very active market” and he has received interest from potential buyers, but he declined to provide additional details.
McBride said the “very specialized” building is designed specifically for medical-device manufacturing and indicated the real estate firm is looking to find a company that can move into the building with few modifications.
“It is difficult to believe that the perfect hand-and-glove fit would come along, but the infrastructure that’s in the building is very unique and expensive,” McBride said. “Somebody could use that, and it would be cheaper to acquire (the building) and change it for their needs than to start from scratch.”
Unilife’s facility includes clean rooms to produce ready-to-fill syringes, a product development center, a microbiology lab, quality inspection and control rooms and an inventory warehouse, while the building also functions as the company’s global headquarters.
The company built the facility in 2010 with more than $15 million in state and federal funding, about half of the total cost of construction.
Moving out: Unilife has not given any indication as to where it will set up shop after leaving Conewago Township, but it is clear the company is looking for ways to boost its bottom line by cutting expenses.
In September 2015, Unilife announced it was laying off about 50 employees — around 17 percent of its workforce — from its Conewago Township production facility and its Innovation Center in Philadelphia as part of a cost-reduction plan.
At the time, Unilife also announced it was looking into the possibility of selling the company or entering a strategic partnership or technology licensing agreement, in response to interest expressed by other companies.
Company officials implemented cuts to reduce operating costs 25 percent to 30 percent during the 2016 fiscal year, after posting net losses of more than $90 million and falling revenues during the previous fiscal year. Despite those efforts, the company posted even greater losses in the 2016 fiscal year.
A Unilife spokesperson was unavailable for immediate comment Monday on what the company will do with its York County employees.
Struggling stocks: Unilife has been under pressure to improve its stock prices for almost 18 months.
In December 2015, the company was close to losing its listing on the Nasdaq Stock Market after its stock slumped under the $1-per-share requirement for continued listing for 30 consecutive days.
A multi-million-dollar agreement with Amgen, a California-based biotech company, pushed Unilife’s stock prices over $1 in February 2016, but by March, the company’s stock prices again began to fall.
Unilife’s stock prices have been less $1 per share since Feb. 24, 2016. At the end of business Monday, Unilife’s stock prices closed at 21 cents per share.