'cool supply chain the ultimate aim'

Temperature controlled logistics strategies for the future

Temperature controlled logistics strategies for the future

The future of the pharma cold chain logistics industry is in good shape, with sturdy growth being forecasted for the $12 billion market, says a new report.

Pharma Logistics IQ’s Temperature Controlled Logistics Future Trend Report examines the oncoming strategies likely to blossom in the cold chain industry.

In late 2016, Pharma Logistics IQ conducted an online survey to assess current perceptions on how the cold chain industry is likely to evolve over the next few years. The survey gathered the responses of the many stakeholders in the international cold chain community with input from the likes of: Eli Lilly and Company, Korea Astellas Pharma, Ministry of Health – Morocco, Ghana Health Service, NovartisMarkets and Genentech.

Many experts are of the opinion that a range of trends are due to take hold in the industry. The rise of cell and gene therapies and the logistics paths they require (patient to manufacturer to patient, for instance) and the inherent sensitivity of the biomaterials will place new demands on the industry.

The report notes that we are due to see packaging and network designs become more tailored for specific drugs. “We are seeing a trend in pharmaceutical manufacturers beginning to design their cold chain networks specifically to the drug platform or modality based on therapeutical area. The ability to tackle a whole range of chronic diseases and illnesses with exciting new technologies has driven more and more specialization in not only the cold chain but the entire logistics network,” Pharma IQ says.

“For example, stable and better characterized drugs with an exemplary safety record are using deferred shipping lanes, new transport modes including ocean freight, and an increased allowable range in shipping temperatures. However, more fragile platforms like a monoclonal antibodies require greater characterization of the drug product not only for temperature hazards, but a full range of environmental hazards including shock, vibration, temperature and humidity.

“The characterization of these synthesized human proteins in solution has shown a fragility that requires complex and specialized logistics networks supported by cushioning thermal packaging with tight control on temperature ranges. Coupled with the controlled temperature requirements for small molecule drugs, the depth and complexity of modern pharmaceutical supply chains will grow exponentially.

“There are also new strategies appearing in terms of packaging conduct, payload volumetric efficiencies in packaging to leverage innovative techniques and metric calculations to maximise container utilisation. Also, some have been experimenting with the use of multi-cell trailers—refrigerated trailers with insulated curtains hung at intervals to create different temperature zones.

“Some peer pharma firms in the industry have noted the value in cross-firm collaboration on shipments and lanes to improve efficiency instead of having vacant space shipped due to packaging size constraints. The global insulated packaging marked is due to mature at a rate of 5.68% CAGR to 2020, driven by demand from the pharma industry. “Experts are contemplating the impact that will be incurred on the cold chain by 3D Printed pharmaceuticals and the use of drones for delivery.”