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.