Aphena Pharma HQ

More, more, more! 3PL cold-chain capacity grows in America’s heartland

Aphena Pharma and Life Science Logistics announce new facilities as preparations for Covid-19 treatment evolve


The business of delivering temperature-controlled pharmaceuticals and healthcare products has been on a strong growth path for over a decade, but now that growth will jump dramatically. And it’s not just the preparations for delivering millions-to-billions of vaccine dosages (whenever that might occur); some of the variety of diagnostic kits for Covid-19 depend on temperature-sensitive components as well. Two companies—Aphena Pharma Solutions and Life Science Logistics—have boosted their capacities; in both cases, these expansions were part of ongoing business planning, but both are positioned to take advantage of the coming onslaught of Covid-19-related business.

In the case of Aphena Pharma Solutions, a contract manufacturer/packager, a 500,000-sq. ft. property has been acquired (see picture), at a cost of $21-million, in the vicinity of its Solid Dose Division in Cookeville, TN. (The company also has a Liquids and Topicals Div. in Easton, MD.) Cookeville, now the company’s HQ, will be the company’s expansion into biologics, cold chain storage and third-party logistics (3PL) services. Space for 12,000 pallets is available. The company is also adding to its bottling and blister-packaging capabilities. Some of the operations are already up and running; the rest will come online by February.

Life Science Logistics, which concentrates on life sciences 3PL services, is opening a 187,000-sq. ft. distribution center to its Indianapolis-area facilities. The new center, in Whitestown, IN, brings total capacity in the area to nearly 1 million sq. ft. (LSL has other facilities in Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta and Baltimore; total capacity is around 2 million sq. ft.) Dave Mastromatteo, COO, says that the company has seen substantial increase in medical-device business, including diagnostic kits for Covid-19, while its business in biologics and now cellular and genetic therapies is on the rise.

Mastromatteo says that current 3PL business has been tough but manageable during the pandemic. “Some of our clients have had difficulties getting their raw materials delivered to them,” he says, but inside Life Science Logistics, the changes due to worker safety and social distancing have been handled with little disruption. “We did have one case of needing to charter an aircraft” to deliver an emergency dosage to a patient. “It’s what we do.”