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Length: 5 min, 43 sec
Rob Wright: Hello, this is Rob Wright, chief editor of Life Science Leader magazine. I want to welcome you to our podcast today with Larry Stambaugh, president and CEO of CryoPort, a Life Sciences Frozen global logistics provider. Welcome Larry, and thank you for being with us today.
Larry Stambaugh: Thank you Rob.
Rob Wright: Larry, I have a question I would like to ask you. Not a day seems to go by that I don’t seem to see something in the news about Somalian pirates and terrorists, and it makes me wonder how does the transportation safety administration (TSA) and their policies impact cold chain cargo screening?
Larry Stambaugh: The world’s changed for us, Rob. Starting back at 9/11, earlier in this new century, security, air transportation and our whole cold chain cargo risk has changed permanently. We were all caught off guard at 9/11 and lost clinical samples, lost products, put customers and patients at risk and didn’t have backup plans. And that cold chain risk continues today. Just earlier this year. Planes were grounded again in London and several other cities over a terrorist alert or some suspicious packages and again things were lost. Not only the terrorists that you mentioned, but also volcanoes, tsunamis in Japan and everyday weather continues to disrupt. But today, the international shipping of biologics is becoming more complicated, not only from the terrorists but regulatory bodies throughout the world are beginning to insist that we adopt new systems. They’re changing guidelines, we have new storage and transportation requirements, all of that is causing us to look for innovations and to find ways to deal with these new issues around holding times that are getting longer. We’re moving more things around the world, and it’s highly important for all of us to find ways to deal with the new rules, keep aware of the rules and permits. It’s getting a lot more complicated.
Rob Wright: So Larry, you mentioned holding time. Why is holding time so important?
Larry Stambaugh: The holding time’s important for the reasons we talked about. More delays from security and regulatory needs, alerts and things we can’t predict that we need to protect our samples and products from. But as well, just the fact that we’re not shipping more things globally. Those are longer transportation times. So to survive today we’ve got to have packaging and processes that have long holding times like the Cryoport Express which has a 10+ day holding time. A couple examples, just recently I read an article about 128 children that died in India from vaccines that were administered and they blamed the cold chain for the loss of the integrity of the vaccines. I was at Mayos [clinic] here recently, and a doctor there was complaining about the loss of a cancer biopsy of one of his patients. When a plane got diverted, the dry ice melted and it didn’t get the laboratory so it can be tested. He said now I’ve got to call a nine year old boy back in, do a punch biopsy through his back. It’s painful, he’s dying of cancer and we just can’t be losing these patients’ samples. Well, if we had longer holding times that wouldn’t have been lost even though the plane was diverted.
Rob Wright: Interesting. So, Larry, how do cold chain logistics companies such as yours effectively manage some of these external factors such as volcanoes that you discussed that may get in the way of on-time delivery?
Larry Stambaugh: Some if it’s technology. There are new technologies like the one we’re bringing to the market and others that are increasing the holding times. Knowing the regulations. These regulations are evolving today. They’re changing rapidly. It isn’t a week that goes by that we don’t find a new permit or new regulation required in some country, be it Korea or China or India or Brazil. So staying on top of that. Data logging’s becoming important today to be able to monitor the temperature and the security. And then tracking. Making sure we’re on top of the shipments and if something’s delayed we know it immediately and we can intervene and expedite around those delays. It’s taking an intensity, technology and attention beyond what we’ve ever had to do in the past.
Rob Wright: Well that sounds great. It also sounds fairly complicated.
Larry Stambaugh: Well, it is. We try to manage it proactively. For example, we have a team that does nothing but track shipments and expedite when things get stopped at customs or get delayed. Planes get diverted, we can’t stop that. Volcanoes happen. Plus we check every single one of our containers every time to make sure it’s maintaining the long holding time. And we continue to innovate. We’re looking for additional technologies that help take the risk out of this cold chain shipping process.
Rob Wright: Any advice you would have to someone who is in a position looking for a cold chain logistics company that’s trying to tackle these issues and triage appropriate questions to selecting a provider?
Larry Stambaugh: I think there’s more information out there today, and companies like CryoPort are working to both educate our customers about all of the risks and issues. How those can be solved. I think we’ll see more of the transportation outsourced to people who do nothing but cold chain shipping in the future because companies individually can’t keep up with these changes.
Rob Wright: Well, that’s all the time we have for today Larry. I’d like to thank you for being with us, and thanks to everybody for listening to this Life Science Leader podcast. I’m Rob Wright and we’ll see you next time on Life Science Leader, the industry’s essential business source.