Pharmaceutical logistics specialist Marken said today it has launched a biological sample shipping service that leverages the airborne transportation network of its parent company, the global supply chain services giant UPS Inc.
Marken will use the network to support its specialty services business for clinical trials and drug research by using UPS' expansive airline network for portions of routes instead of relying on commercial aircraft.
The move comes six months after UPS acquired Marken for an undisclosed sum in 2016, buying the smaller firm in a bid to expand its menu of lucrative, specialty services for international clinical trials and drug research.
Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based Marken admits that other carriers have offered hybrid solutions involving a mix of dedicated and common carrier fleets in the past, but argues that this new service marks the first time the specialty and integrator services are both owned by the same parent company. That distinction will ensure better integration, visibility, and customer care than competing solutions, the company said.
Also on Tuesday, Marken announced a reverse logistics service based on a similar hybrid model. Using this approach, the company says it can minimize reverse logistics costs for noncritical items by using its traditional outbound delivery routes for customers' sensitive clinical drug products, but deploying standard UPS procedures for the return of reusable materials.
"We want customers to think of Marken as the clinical subsidiary of UPS," Marken CEO Wes Wheeler said today in a release. "We intend to continue executing on our strategy to be the supply chain service provider of choice for the clinical trials community, and to expand our broad range of services supporting the movement of clinical drug product, clinical drug substance, medical devices, biologic samples and other regulated materials."
The new hybrid service will begin by establishing a route for an unnamed Russian client. Marken will collect shipments of biologic material from various sites in Russia, consolidate them in Moscow, and then transport them to the UPS hub in Cologne, Germany for delivery to their final destination via UPS planes. Following that launch, Marken will design similar hybrid solutions for customers in Mexico, the United Kingdom, and continental Europe, the company said.