For HDA service provider member AeroSafe Global, innovation and sustainability go hand in hand. Since 1995, the company has grown from a single laboratory in Rochester, New York, into a global leader on the cutting edge of cold chain technology solutions.
To learn more, HDA recently spoke to Rick Lozano, Chief Commercial Officer, for insight into how the company has grown and what the future holds for cold chain innovation.
1. Tell us a little bit about AeroSafe Global: Where did it start and how has it grown?
AeroSafe started with humble beginnings in 1995 at a laboratory in Rochester, New York, manufacturing superior-performing aerogel thermal material for a variety of industries, including NASA. At the time, the biopharmaceutical industry was ripe for cold chain innovation, and we set our sights on creating an innovative solution to replace styrofoam packaging with a reliable and sustainable solution.
Now, AeroSafe has grown into a premier leader in the cold chain industry offering turnkey solutions starting from custom design, supply chain management, to digital-enabled control tower. Today we serve customers in 85 countries across our network of 15 service centers. The innovative spirit that the company was founded on remains a driving force behind our growth as we tackle the most pressing challenges across the global pharmaceutical supply chain.
2. How has cold chain impacted the healthcare supply chain? How does your company see this technology evolving over the next 5–10 years?
Temperature control has become vital to many new and advanced therapeutics, including personalized medicine, mRNA vaccines, and cell and gene therapies. In 2018, half of the drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were temperature-sensitive products, and their value is expected to grow at nearly twice the rate of conventional medicines by 2024. However, roughly $35 billion worth of therapies requiring cold chain delivery are wasted annually due to temperature excursions during transport and distribution.
To ensure that temperature-controlled therapies arrive safely, digital innovation will play an even larger role in the next 5–10 years. The industry will see faster adoption of technologies for monitoring, logging and signaling the status and condition of therapies during distribution. To prevent a temperature excursion, smart packaging can communicate the status change, and predictive models can forecast potential quality issues to trigger an intervention. AeroSafe has been on the forefront of these advancements with the development of our Digital Control Tower services that offer visibility, alerts and intervention — allowing our partners to gain efficiencies and make informed decisions.
3. Why is sustainability in the supply chain important? What is the value of eco-friendly packaging for delivering healthcare products?
To combat climate change and promote sustainability, Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives are now more essential than ever for the entire biopharmaceutical industry.
AeroSafe offers the industry-leading cold chain solutions with proven sustainability impact that has helped our biopharma partners progress toward their ESG goals. When compared with single-use solutions, AeroSafe solutions achieved:
- 88% reduction in waste sent to landfill;
- 68% reduction in CO2 emissions;
- 89% reduction in water use; and,
- 66% reduction in electricity use.
Between 2020 and 2022, AeroSafe helped one customer reduce approximately 33 million kg of CO2, yielding $2 million in carbon credit.
4. How has your team promoted diversity and inclusion in your workplace?
To foster diversity and inclusion culture at AeroSafe, we recently formed a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee to focus on building a strong company culture and making employees from all backgrounds feel valued, heard and respected. The goals of the D&I Committee include reassessing company policies, building diverse teams, promoting pay equality and acknowledging and celebrating holidays of all cultures to create a workplace that fosters diverse thinking and mutual respect.
5. What is something you are proud of that your company has accomplished in the last year? Any innovations in your products or operations?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AeroSafe was entrusted to provide its industry-leading cold chain solutions to assist the safe delivery of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States and Japan. Building on our proven sustainable turnkey cold chain service, AeroSafe has prioritized integrating the most advanced digital supply chain technologies, providing enhanced supply chain intelligence to our customers and patients, and delivering lifesaving therapies around the world.
ABOUT THE HEALTHCARE DISTRIBUTION ALLIANCE
The Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) represents primary pharmaceutical distributors — the vital link between the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and others nationwide. Since 1876, HDA has helped members navigate regulations and innovations to get the right medicines to the right patients at the right time, safely and efficiently. The HDA Research Foundation, HDA’s nonprofit charitable foundation, serves the healthcare industry by providing research and education focused on priority healthcare supply chain issues.