Cold Chain Logistics for Healthcare: Emerging Opportunities in Cell Therapies, Vaccines and Human Organs

Presently, a wide variety of pharmaceutical products, such as biologics, vaccines, human organs for transplantation and certain conventional pharmacological interventions as well, are temperature sensitive and require freezing / cryogenic holding temperatures. In fact, over 95% of all approved biologics and 90% of all vaccines are cold chain dependent.  Stakeholders in this segment have designed and established a variety of innovative solutions to serve the evolving demands. Given the recent technical breakthroughs and advances, and the steadily rising demand for biopharmaceuticals, the reliance on cold chain is expected to increase substantially, causing logistics service providers to contemplate, devise and implement flexible business strategies and operational models to cope up with the future needs.

Logistical operations for modern pharmaceuticals are complicated; for temperature sensitive products, cold chain is an indispensable asset in preserving drug integrity and viability

Over 40% of all drugs approved in 2018 are cold chain dependent and have different holding temperature requirements for transportation

Considering that there are a limited number of commercially available cell-based therapies, the short-term demand for cell therapy logistics is likely to stem from the ongoing clinical trials

For vaccines, the growing demand can be gauged by the fact that there are close to 1,300 active clinical trials across the globe, sponsored by both industry and non-industry players

For organ transplants as well, the demand is steadily increasing; transporting live tissues for such delicate procedures requires cryogenic holding temperatures

Presently, over 85 firms are actively involved in providing cold chain logistics services for healthcare products across a variety of recommended holding temperature ranges

Although the market is dominated by established players, several small and mid-sized players are also offering a wide range of services, striving to attain a competitive edge

Growth in the number of partnerships also reflects the rising interest of industry stakeholders; most of these involved developer companies recruiting the services of logistics providers

The adoption of novel tools / techniques, such as artificial intelligence and cloud storage, in cold chain logistics operations is likely to further revolutionize the overall supply chain

Driven by an increasing global demand for biopharmaceuticals, cold chain logistics is currently a multi-billion dollar industry that is anticipated to continue to grow at a steady pace

The overall opportunity is expected to be well-distributed across the various holding temperatures, type of containers and the concerned end-users

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