Pelican BioThermal has laid down more options for dry ice shippers to continue providing solutions for the payload protection of temperature-sensitive cargo, including cell and gene therapy shipments that are seeing growing demand as well as ‘pandemic payloads.’
“Cell and gene therapies are highly individualized and patient-centric, which creates a drastically different supply chain than we see for mass-produced pharmaceutical products,” said Greg Wheatley, vice president of worldwide new product development and engineering at Pelican BioThermal.
“This supply chain introduces individuals who are not always familiar with cold chain packaging. Our job is to make easy-to-use temperature-controlled solutions for these applications,” he added.
The company has introduced new parcel sizes ranging from 1.1 litres to 179 litres, covering temperature ranges of -65°C to -20°C, which is what some of the Covid-19 vaccines would require to keep product integrity during transport.
Pelican BioThermal said its expanded range of dry ice parcels can replace liquid nitrogen systems on short journeys that include a courier, with easy-to-pack parcels available for single-use and reusable shipping boxes.
“Sherpa Systems use expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation and are molded with density to achieve required performance standards. DeepFreeze and Crēdo Cube shippers, by contrast, feature high-performance VIP (vacuum insulated panels) that protect the payload and require less dry ice, lowering transportation costs. Dry ice products provide frozen payload protection with durations from 96 hours to 225 hours,” the company explained.
All three systems are cost-effective and easy to pack out compared to other dry ice frozen shipping products, Pelican BioThermal noted, adding that “shippers undergo constant stress tests in ambient temperatures of 30°C to ensure the payload remains within temperature range for expected durations.”
The introduction of new options for dry ice shippers comes alongside reports of vaccine drives being halted as a result of packaging defects incurred during transport. In Hong Kong, the government suspended the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on 24 March after packaging defects ranging from cracked containers to loose caps were discovered in one batch of doses, The New York Times reported.
Fosun Pharma, the Chinese company in charge of transporting, storing and distributing the shots in Hong Kong, said BioNTech had detected problems with the lids within a batch of vaccines shipped ONLY to Hong Kong and Macau, where authorities have also suspended administering the vaccine.
The flawed doses were amongst a batch of 585,000 doses delivered early in March, the Hong Kong government said on Wednesday, citing data from a Hong Kong subsidiary of Fosun. In all, the government received eight reports of cracked containers, 22 reports of leaks, 16 reports of loose caps and 11 reports of stains or marks on the outside of bottles, according to Constance Chan, Hong Kong’s director of health.