LogiPharma Europe 2024: Tower Cold Chain Global Head of Product Development Discusses the Future of Cell & Gene Therapy and Cold Chain Storage


In an interview with Pharma Commerce Editor Nicholas Saraceno, Martin Hawes, Global Head of Product Development, Tower Cold Chain offers insights on the future of cell & gene therapies when it comes to cold chain storage.

PC: What are you hoping to accomplish at LogiPharma Europe?

Hawes: As a supplier and producer of cold chain packaging, we're predominantly here to speak to our customers, deliver what we believe are groundbreaking solutions to meet their needs, and just get a get a feel for where the industry is going and ensure that our product base and our offering matches that requirement.

PC: What trends have you noticed at the show?

Hawes: I think building on previous years, we’re seeing more interest in IoT, digital technology, the ability to build smart, and intelligent functionality into the products from a number of our competitors. Obviously, we're delivering that as well through a number of partnerships with digital companies.

We’re seeing more development in the small box market, through cell and gene therapy, patient-centered therapies, direct-to-patient and higher value, smaller volume products. There’s a couple of new technologies that we’ve seen that are quite interesting. I think the industry is moving forward.

PC: How do you envision the future of cell & gene therapies, especially pertaining to cold chain storage?

Hawes: I think with cell and gene therapy, generally there seems to be a bit of a split between -80°C solutions, or -60°C to -80°C and then cryogenic obviously below -150°C. We currently have a collaboration with CRYOPDP to expand our offering into the cryogenic area. We’re also working with CRYOPDP with our own products in terms of dry ice and higher temperatures. I think everybody's waiting for cell and gene therapy to really take off. It’s been predicted for a number of years, and it seems to be starting to move now. We’re seeing a lot more interest from our customer base in it, but not with significant volumes that I think the industry was potentially predicting two or three years ago. I think one of the key things that we'll see going forward is more collaboration, whether that be in the ability to offer a broader range of products, or again from a sustainability standpoint, to try and improve return logistics on reusable solutions as well. We’re seeing a number of companies now that are collaborating more, and we’re trying to do that ourselves.

PC: How can companies in the industry collaborate on sustainability?

Hawes: I'm relatively new to the industry. I've been with Tower for three years, and one of the things that horrifies me is the amount of single-use packaging that the industry uses. Well over 50% of all pallet shippers and small boxes are single use. That’s an inordinate amount of waste and a huge environmental impact. I’m hopeful that we can start persuading. Particularly now, people are more interested in the sustainability side of their business. So, our business is based on product life that exceeds well over five years, therefore much more circular solutions, and much better sustainability and low-waste opportunity. From a product development perspective, the challenge is building it now with robustness for no penalty of weight or volume, which we're starting to see now. I think as product values get higher, the potential of waste is much more significant.

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