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UPS unit Marken expands network to support clinical trial logistics demand

FDA on track to approve 10 to 20 cell and gene therapies per year through 2025, company says

UPS' Marken expands network as demand for clinical trials logistics heats up (Photo: Twitter/Marken)

Marken, a wholly owned subsidiary of UPS Inc. that manages clinical drug supply chain services, said Monday it has expanded its global network primarily to support increased demand for cell and gene therapy clinical trials.

Expansion plans include new locations, additional cold chain services and packaging solutions, said Marken, which is based in Research Triangle, North Carolina.

As part of the geographic expansion, Marken will develop facilities in South Korea and sub-Saharan Africa, the company said. The company will also add square footage in Louisville, Kentucky, home of UPS’ primary global air hub, and Great Valley, Pennsylvania, west of Philadelphia.

“These investments are especially critical for cell and gene therapy developers” that will bring more therapies to market in the coming years, said Ariette van Strien, Marken’s president, in a statement. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve 10 to 20 cell and gene therapy products per year by 2025, van Strein said.

Marken’s clinical supply chain network works closely with the UPS Healthcare unit of the parent company (NYSE:UPS). So far this year, UPS Healthcare has installed 390,000 square feet of storage coolers and freezers at UPS facilities. The equipment can store biologics at temperatures ranging from 2 degrees Celsius to minus 80 degrees, the latter temperature designed to properly hold the COVID-19 vaccines produced by U.S. drug giant Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and its German partner, BioNTech SE.

All told, UPS Healthcare has 11 million square feet of distribution space in 128 facilities in 32 countries. 

Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.