FedEx goes live with deep-frozen cold chain service for specimens

Pharmaceutical CommercePharmaceutical Commerce - January/February 2011

Liquid nitrogen-based Deep Frozen Solution will become part of a new healthcare services business

Having demo’d the technology at recent IQPC and other cold chain meetings, FedEx Corp. (Memphis) is now officially rolling out the technology, in partnership with CryoPort (San Diego), developer of the CryoPort Express Shipper. The service comprises CryoPort’s thermos bottle, with a capacity of 304 cu. in., and FedEx’s delivery and pickup services worldwide. In practice, all that a shipper need do is order one of the containers, which come prefilled with liquid nitrogen (and can sustain a temperature of -150 °C for up to 10 days), and fill out a destination form. FedEx brings the container, picks it up when ready and delivers it throughout its worldwide network, and handles returns and reuse of the container. FedEx’s Priority Alert service can be used to complete the delivery, providing express shipment as well as visibility during the shipment transit.

“This is an economical alternative to having the in-house capacity to stock and equip one’s own containers, charge them with coolant, and take care of delivery and return,” says Carl Asmus, VP of international market development at FedEx. He notes that liquid nitrogen is categorized as a non-hazardous substance, in contrast to the typically used refrigerant, dry ice.

Word is also trickling out about FedEx’s revamping of its life sciences service, which are going to be branded as FedEx HealthCare Solutions, and will include storage and fulfillment in addition to its range of dedicated air and ground-transport resources. According to Asmus, the unit will have a dedicated sales and service organization, providing one-stop access to the transportation services.

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