marken

UPS continues its expansion-by-acquisition strategy healthcare by extending its reach in clinical trial logistics with the purchase of Marken.

North Carolina-based Marken supplies transport and storage for clinical trial materials and becomes UPS’s fifth life sciences takeover in as many years.

Mark Edwards, managing director of consultancy Modalis, warned that there would be challenges integrating Marken into UPS, but it would produce major cross-selling opportunities.

“The other players in this area will need to take note, as Marken can now take advantage of the UPS infrastructure to leverage cost savings and operational capability,” he added.

Marken chief executive Wes Wheeler – who will continue in his post – agreed that UPS’s capabilities, particularly in mature markets, would provide opportunities to enhance business.

Neither company would divulge financial details of the deal, which is expected to close by 31 December, subject to regulatory approval.

In July, UPS announced the enhancement of its healthcare control tower network as part of a series of plans aimed at improving its clinical logistics offering. It said that given the global reach of clinical studies, streamlined logistics were an increasingly important component of successful trials.

“With drug research taking years, at a cost in the billions, product loss or damage, including falling out of temperature range, could mean a costly setback,” said Habib N’Konou, UPS senior operations director for clinical trials.

Estimates put the cost of bringing a drug to market at between $160m and $2.2bn, with clinical trials alone accounting for upwards of $100m.

“Improvements to our network can help reduce product loss or damage,” said Mr N’Konou.

Mr Edwards said UPS was now probably only a 4PL or control tower away from heading the logistics industry, in terms of a healthcare and pharmaceutical offering.

By acquiring Marken, UPS will increase its presence to more than 100 healthcare-dedicated facilities worldwide, with 60 Good Manufacturing Practices-compliant location, including 10 GMP-certified Marken depots.

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