Industry hot for cold chain technologies, says thermal packaging firm

Cold Chain Technologies has scaled-up capacity after seeing an unprecedented demand for its services during the coronavirus pandemic.

The thermal packaging solutions company, Cold Chain Technologies is part of the US government’s Operation Warp Speed (OWS) vaccine distribution plan and director of Corporate Development, Jamie Chasteen told BioProcess Insider it has seen a “huge bump” in demand since COVID-19.

To meet this demand, the firm opened a manufacturing plant in less than eight weeks in Lebanon, Tennessee in November 2020 that is dedicated to distributing COVID-19 vaccines.

Image/iStock: nedomacki

“We opened a new manufacturing plant in Tennessee dedicated to meeting this demand significantly increasing capacity to 1.5 billion doses a year globally, which equates to about four million vaccinations a day,” said CEO, Ranjeet Banerjee. “We have also laid the groundwork to increase it to 2 billion doses a year if needed, equaling five and a half million vaccinations a day.”

The 255,000 square-foot facility is fully equipped to support the temperature-sensitive requirements. The site makes Cold Chain Technologies’ KoolTemp EcoFlex, which is a reusable thermal packaging solution. Chasteen told us the KoolTemp containers were used to distribute the first shipments of Johnson and Johnson’s single-shot vaccine that was approved last month.

The firm also has Moderna and Pfizer on its books along with other non-disclosed COVID-19 vaccine makers.

Cold-chain education

In response to the increased demand, Chasteen said it had “gotten out in front of it pretty well,” and praised the “tremendous effort that had to go into training people properly.” However, he also shared that when working with temperature sensitive biologics there is “going to be some amount of loss that does occur, there’s going to be unforeseen events.”

He continued: “There has been a little bit more of an issue in the US” as each individual state can select “how they are going to store and how they are going to transport” the vaccine.

While this issue is “not new,” Chasteen said his firm has dedicated time to “not only educate the direct partners who are packing and using our solutions, but also to do some thought leadership and education in the marketplace.”

In doing so, it hopes its partners will gain understanding of resources available in how to handle and distribute the vaccines.

According to the firm, the biopharma industry loses $35 billion annually due to failures in temperature-controlled logistics and says that having real-time visibility into drug and vaccine shipments is pivotal in minimizing loss.

To help the supply chain further, Cold Chain Technologies has teamed up with Cloudleaf to use its Digital Visibility Platform which will improve delivery efforts for drugs, vaccines for COVID-19, and prevent spoilage.

“Cloudleaf’s Digital Visibility Platform is sensor agnostic and enables our containers with a prescriptive analysis of vaccine conditions down to the unit level, making it a natural choice for such an important global initiative. We have tripled the production of our temperature-sensitive parcels for vaccines in recent months, and we’re confident this added layer of supply chain transparency will be instrumental in getting society back to business as usual,” said Banerjee.