Clinical logistics providers World Courier and Marken build out new capabilities

Marken adds real-time wireless tracking; World Courier opens a testing lab in Germany

Head-to-head competitors (and market leaders) in the clinical logistics space, World Courier (London) and Marken (RTP, NC), made simultaneous but unrelated announcements in early August aimed at improving service to their research and commercial clients.

In Marken’s case, a partnership with OnAsset Intelligence (Irving, TX) brings the latter’s FlightSafe Sentry system into Marken’s packaging and delivery services. The Sentry device and IT platform provides wireless communication of temperature, location, container integrity and other conditions; the FlightSafe feature ensures that the device is quiet during aircraft flight time—a requirement of most airlines (Sentry is approved for use on over 40 airlines). The company states that the action is being taken “to further demonstrate the company's commitment to high-value clinical-trial drug substance and drug product which are increasingly derived from sensitive biologic material;” also, it provides better compliance with recent changes in European regulations (Annex 15).

"Marken believes that by offering this state-of-the-art tracking device, we have taken an important and necessary step which guarantees the safe delivery of each drug shipment,” said Wes Wheeler, Marken CEO, in a statement.

In World Courier’s case, the AmerisourceBergen subsidiary is announcing the opening of Climate Optimisation Research & Engineering (CORE) Labs, a testing and development center based near Cologne, Germany. CORE Labs is “focused solely on helping pharmaceutical manufacturer clients evaluate, validate and select the right climate-controlled packaging solutions for their specific needs,” says the company. Services will include climate chambers for environmental testing, consulting on packaging design, and data analysis from shipments and trade lanes.

“We will be able to use our commercial-grade climate chamber to test packaging before it gets implemented and then verify those results across hundreds of transport lanes,” said John Butler, president, in a statement. “CORE Labs will allow shippers to make more informed and — ultimately — more cost-efficient decisions across their entire portfolio of specialty logistics needs.”

OnAsset is in use by other logistics providers and there are other GPS- and condition-monitoring systems on the market. Also, a handful of environmental testing labs are available at packaging vendors and logistics providers. But in both cases, the companies are integrating valued services for the clinical market, which should result in a higher level of reliability for trials and drug deliveries.