At Cryoport, every employee understands that a life can be on the line with every shipment the company manages. As a pioneering global provider of temperature-controlled logistics and life science solutions, the firm is regularly presented with high stakes challenges in the bio-pharma, animal health and human reproductive markets, but thanks to a culture of discipline, initiative, hard work and ownership, Cryoport boasts a 99.8 per cent success rate since 2019.
A highly entrepreneurial venture from the start, Cryoport was founded by six doctors on a mission to bring their reusable cryogenic dewar to the temperature sensitive packaging and transport market in place of dry ice. As the company’s technology evolved, Cryoport soon developed a dry vapor shipper powered by environmentally-friendly vapor of liquid nitrogen, and, in the process, took a step closer to its modern product offering.
The last decade at Cryoport has been defined by the leadership of Jerrell W. Shelton, President and CEO of Cryoport Inc., and Dr. Mark Sawicki, President and CEO of Cryoport Systems and Chief Scientific Officer of Cryoport Inc. Together, the pair have rebooted the organization, adding, among other initiatives, a focus on cell and gene therapies – an industry where cryogenic logistics is a must have. Thomas Heinzen, Vice President of Corporate Development at Cryoport Inc, explains more:
“The only way to suspend cells used in cell and gene therapies is with cryogenic technologies and temperatures below -150 Celsius. Our cryogenic shippers last over ten days at around -196 Celsius and generally you can get anywhere around the world in that time.
“Over the last few years, as we’ve grown into the scale of supporting cell and gene therapies globally, we’ve really started to perfect the logistics and outsource solution side of things,” Thomas continues. “Five years ago, when I joined the company, we supported about 40 trials and finished 2015 with around $4 million in revenue. Today, we are supporting 528 clinical trials, seven commercial therapies, and have grown to $48 million in revenue for just the fourth quarter of 2020.
“We were the first provider of temperature-controlled supply chain solutions for both Gilead/Kite’s and Novartis’ commercial regenerative therapies, and those relationships continue today. Our client list is now a ‘who’s who’ of the sector.”
As Thomas suggests, Cryoport has experienced rapid growth over the last half-decade and revenue has, in total, jumped from $3.5 million to $78 million and rising. Operating from 30 locations and serving more than 100 countries, the company is a recognized specialist in cold and cryo-frozen logistics with an ever-evolving variety of solutions to suit specific client requirements and needs.
At the center of Cryoport’s supply chain offering are Cryoport Express Shippers, which include advanced packaging and come equipped with a SmartPak Condition Monitoring System that allows the company to communicate with each shipper in transit. As part of the company’s strong innovation pipeline, Cryoport will launch this year the Cryosphere – a revolutionary self-orienting Express Shipper that will be the most advanced storage and shipping container on the market.
Acting as a vital support system for Cryoport’s day-to-day operations is the company’s cloud-based informatics platform, the Cryoportal. Capable of communicating with Cryoport’s SmartPak Condition Monitoring Systems, the Cryoportal also handles order entry, tracks Cryoport’s global inventories and performs predictive analysis on every shipment. This analysis enables Cryoport to intervene and correct undesirable conditions that might be affecting a shipment or endangering its safe passage.
“Our focus on risk management has helped us rise to the top,” Mark says. “The fact that we have a consolidated platform that integrates packaging, logistics and informatics – and that is all centered around optimizing and managing risk in an uncontrolled space – is a real differentiator for us. We were instrumental in crafting the recently released ISO21973:2020 standard for biotechnology, so we are leading the way in traceability, processes and equipment associated with storing and moving cells from point A to point B.
“Compatible with FedEx, UPS, DHL and carriers the world over, the real-time nature of our cloud-based platform means we are the only company out there with the ability to fully monitor, uniquely trace and, if necessary, save cell or gene therapy shipments,” Thomas adds. “When you are talking about $1 million gene therapy with someone’s life on the line, that is a really big deal!”
To further build its competencies, Cryoport has made two large acquisitions in 2020. The first of these, CRYOPDP, brought the company the third largest healthcare-dedicated specialty courier in the world and immediately expanded Cryoport’s global network. The second purchase was MVE Biological Solutions, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of cryogenic equipment for the life sciences industry. The acquisition of MVE not only enabled Cryoport to vertically integrate, it also secured future inventory expansion and brings Cryoport into the bio-storage equipment market on a global basis. Thomas believes that, in order for Cryoport to continue thriving on the world stage, expansion was inevitable.
“We do a lot of forecasting at Cryoport and we knew we couldn’t build out our global network fast enough organically,” he states. “We don’t need facilities on every street corner like Starbucks, but we do need to be near where our customers manufacture their therapies around the world. If you created a heat map of where cell and gene manufacturing takes place, and then overlay our network on top of it, it’s pretty close to being complete. We still have some more room for geographic expansion, but we have really fast forwarded as a business thanks to the CRYOPDP and MVE moves.”
With the life sciences industry advancing at speed, the sector’s relationships with supply chain partners like Cryoport are growing increasingly important. As clients search for new ways to drive efficiency and growth, Cryoport’s expertise, global reach and technical capabilities are more sought after than ever.
“There is no other industry that can play the crucial role life sciences can in improving peoples’ lives and restoring health across the globe,” Jerrell declares. “We are at the beginning of profound changes in the delivery of healthcare globally and companies like Cryoport will be valuable partners as new regulatory requirements come in, emerging markets become centers of growth, and cost pressures mount. Innovative and industry compliant temperature-managed supply chains will be essential for the continued advancement of the life sciences.
“The sciences behind breakthrough treatments, globalization, information technology, and innovation mean that the importance of the supply chain has never been stronger. Supply chains are being required to plough new ground as they are extended to new global markets, which means meeting a broader array of demanding regulations and providing more exacting temperature management.”
In 2021, Cryoport will continue to consolidate and integrate its recent acquisitions, as well as introduce new technologies designed to better manage risk and deliver more reliable data. Allogeneic therapies will also be a key area of interest.
“About 30 per cent of the clinical trials we support today are allogeneic, which involves taking blood from a healthy donor and using it to create a batch of therapies,” Mark notes. “Once that batch is created, it is our intention to ship it into our network around the world. All our facilities will have storage capabilities in the future, meaning they can hold commercial grade customer products.”
A believer in the power of relationships, both internal and external to the business, Cryoport looks forward to supporting evolving markets in the years ahead, as well as its employees, suppliers, customers and communities in which it works. In line with this dedication to the human side of business, the firm launched a new Environmental, Social and Governance Program (ESG) in February 2021, reinforcing its positive approach towards corporate responsibility.
“We want to make sure we are open about ESG and the work we are doing to be efficient, ethically responsible and sustainable,” Thomas reports. “The biggest example for us is on the human reproductive side of things, where we ship eggs, embryos and sperm as part of the IVF cycle helping parents have children. Our 99.8 per cent success rate on shipments means that the intended parents have a better shot of a successful IVF procedure. Our ESG program is just getting started and I think it’s important to recognize it as a living policy. We will continue to build it out and refine it over time, but getting it out there is a good first step.”
On a mission to support life and health on earth through its advanced technologies, devoted personnel and comprehensive supply chain solutions, Cryoport will continue to forge rewarding partnerships and deliver groundbreaking results. As the company’s motto implies, in an unpredictable world, Cryoport is built upon science, logistics and certainty.
“The advancement of the life sciences industry, and more specifically cell and gene therapy, is the key driver for our growth at Cryoport and the key to the health of all humanity,” Jerrell asserts. “Scientists around the globe are getting close to finding cures for diseases that have never had any suitable treatments before. It is rewarding and exciting to know that Cryoport is playing such a significant role by enabling the storage and logistics behind these therapies to hopeful patients and their families all over the world.
Services: Temperature-controlled supply chain solutions