Building a healthcare powerhouse

Union of UPS Healthcare and Marken came at perfect time
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Marken’s innovative solutions in biological sample shipments, kit production, and cell and gene therapy logistics have helped UPS Healthcare advance its customer first strategy framework.

“The acquisition in 2016 was made to integrate [Marken’s] know-how on clinical trials and drug development and how we can position the different services around supply chain,” said Ariette van Strien, president of Marken.

More than a logistics provider, Marken is the industry leader in direct to patient (DTP) and direct from patient (DFP) solutions. For example, Marken can deliver drugs to the home of a patient participating in a clinical trial. Then, through its nursing network, collect biological samples from that patient in their home, pack the sample and ship it back to the pharmaceutical company conducting the clinical trial.

Unity in a time of crisis

Bolstered by Marken’s extensive capabilities in the field of clinical trials and biological sample shipments, UPS Healthcare is a logistics partner of choice for COVID-19 vaccine trials around the world. But Marken had to make rapid adjustments to keep clinical trials going amid country-wide shutdowns.

“At that time, direct to patient services was probably 5% of what we were doing,” Ariette said. “So we needed to switch the whole company to direct to patient in six, seven weeks globally. And it was a huge challenge. We onboarded 120 pharma clients in less than six weeks.”

Today, UPS Healthcare is supporting 10 vaccine trials and pursuing another 40. They also support most of the drugs and therapies used to treat and cure COVID-19.

“We added 600 people in 2020,” Ariette said. “So every third person is new right now, and we continue to grow.”

When vaccines were ready for mass distribution, Marken’s expertise and experience with clinical trials helped UPS Healthcare adapt quickly to meet the challenge of handling temperature-sensitive shipments on a scale not seen before.

“That’s what we do every day for everything,” said Dan Bell, Marken’s vice president, Americas Region. “Whether it's frozen blood on dry ice that's coming back from a patient, or if it's a biological salient gene, or a resource material for therapy that's on liquid nitrogen. We already do that.”

Building more than a reputation

Leveraging Marken’s hybrid services along with UPS’s small package and freight forwarding networks, UPS Healthcare has solidified its position as a logistics powerhouse, handling all aspects of the supply chain from early clinical trial to commercial distribution of an approved drug.

Hear Ariette and Dan Gagnon, vice president of global marketing for UPS Healthcare, discuss how Marken’s experience with COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials is moving our world forward by delivering what matters.

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