BioLife high on cell therapy opportunities for its media and logistics services

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Cold chain services firm set to benefit from increased numbers of cell therapies entering the clinic. Image: iStock/EVZONI
Cold chain services firm set to benefit from increased numbers of cell therapies entering the clinic. Image: iStock/EVZONI

Related tags Stem cell

BioLife Solutions has partnered with transportation firm MNX and says it expects increased demand for its biologistics services as more cell therapies enter the clinic.

Biologistex, a joint venture between BioLife and temperature sensitive transport container firm Savsu Technologies, inked a partnership with MNX Global Logistics late last month offering biopharma customers specialised cold chain logistics services.

The firm discussed the deal yesterday while reporting Q1 2016 results, with BioLife CEO Michael Rice telling investors the first stage of integration for the new service, which offers door-to-door same day delivery for temperature sensitive biologic shipments, has been successful.

“BioLife customers can directly purchase MNX services as better alternatives to traditional freight carriers where critical shipments often gets stuck overnight in a hub and in some cases the biologic payload is rendered unusable due to delivery delays or shelf-life expiration,”​ he told stakeholders.

But the service will really come into its own as more companies push their cell and gene therapies through the development stages.

 “There is a clear growing awareness for the need for improved cold chain distribution [and]… that need is definitely more intense as these customers move to their later phases of clinical trials, because the clinical importance of having these cells and tissues arrive alive and be usable is percolating to the organizations and particularly within the quality room of those companies,” ​he said.

“We've already completed some joint sales calls with the MNX team to cell therapy companies and I'm very encouraged about this opportunity and the energy and engagement both companies are committed to ensure success.”

Media business

Increasing interest in cell therapies is also benefitting BioLife’s core CryoStor and HypoThermosol biopreservation media business which saw record revenue for the quarter.

Rice put this down to “orders from several new cell therapy companies and increased order volume from later stage clinical customers,”​ and added the firm has also seen an increase in product sales to BioLife’s distribution partners.

“We're able to leverage the selling teams of companies such as STEMCELL Technologies, VWR, Sigma, and Thermo Fisher, with nearly no overlap with our direct selling activities in the region of medicine market,”​ he said, adding the media is now being used in over 215 preclinical validation projects and clinical trials of new cell and tissue based biologics.

“[If] some of these cell therapies are approved, we could expect really meaningful potential increases in demand for our proprietary biopreservation media products.”

For the first quarter, BioLife had a new high for sales, up 25% year-on-year to $1.8m, but the firm also reported an increased net loss of $1.5m which it said reflected a higher level of operating expense.

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