Top Challenges: Supplying Next Generation Medicines

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The personalized medicines market – which tailors drugs and treatments to the individual patient – is expected to reach revenues of $149 billion by 2020, according to Pharmaceutical Commerce.

And the rising use of biosimilars – a biologic medical product that is a near-identical copy of an original product by another company – is expected to result in the near doubling of the size of pharma cold chain logistics business over the next three years.

This shift presents many opportunities and challenges. Live materials used in cell and gene therapies and personalized medicines need to be transported quickly and safely within the correct temperature range from the lab to clinical site to ensure their effectiveness. Everything from the weather, to traffic jams, to customs regulations can disrupt such high volume and high value shipments.


The delicate stability of the products – which have tight turnaround times – in addition to their expensive price points mean that supply chain mistakes cannot be afforded. Track and trace systems are crucial to transporting these biotherapies as well as close collaboration between supply chain stakeholders. Pharmaceutical supply chain World Courier works, for example, works with partners’ years in advance to calibrate the most effective supply chain for cell and gene products.

Another option is to get take patients to the center with the personalized medicines, but, of course, as many patients are seriously ill travelling large distances may not be possible.

Ahead of the 15th Annual Global Forum for Temperature Controlled Life Science Supply Chains, we spoke to industry experts about the challenges and opportunities distributing personalized medicines present.