Cryoport, a global provider of temperature-controlled logistics solutions for the life sciences industry, has opened a new state-of-the-art global supply chain and logistics center in Morris Plains.
The facility will support biotech companies such as, for example, Novartis, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Johnson & Johnson, and play a vital role in storing and shipping lifesaving medicines to patients in need in the greater New York/New Jersey area.
The 20,000-square-foot office and distribution space at 900 American Road in Morris Plains will house 70 employees, and is the second global supply chain center Cryoport opened this week, the other being in Houston, Texas.
Rob Jones, vice president of global bioservices at Cryoport, said the facility has already received the first doses of a cell therapy from a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. He says the therapy will be used to treat clinical trial patients with advanced B-cell lymphoma and acute myeloid leukemia at clinics across the United States. Overall, Cryoport currently supports more than 600 clinical trials and multiple cell/gene therapies in commercial distribution.
“The fundamental technology that we have is vital to the life sciences and its advancement,” said Jerrell Shelton, president and CEO of Cryoport, adding that his company represents 90% of the commercial therapies on the market.
According to Jones, the sheer growth and maturation of the global cell & gene therapy industry has highlighted a need for global logistic centers such as the ones in Morris Plains and Houston.
“The growth [of the industry] is rapid – but the supporting infrastructure isn’t,” Jones said. “The number of therapy developers is increasing every month, and new types of advanced therapies are emerging and evolving very rapidly. The manufacturing capacity for these unique therapies is limited – which is why many therapy developers have to invest in their own manufacturing facilities, sometimes even to manufacture some of the starting materials used in the manufacturing of their therapy (e.g., viral vector).”
He added that as the industry continues to grow, the volumes of materials continue to increase – with clinical trials advancing from early studies with just a handful of patients, to late phase studies involving dozens, sometimes hundreds of patients at multiple clinics, sometimes in several countries.
“The therapy developers cannot manage this amount of material themselves – nor do they want to,” Jones said. “They need reliable partners, with suitable facilities to help them manage their valuable materials – including the therapeutic materials and the raw materials that are used in the manufacturing process.”
On hand at the Morris Plains opening ceremony was Tom Whitehead, whose daughter Emily was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2010. He spoke about his daughter’s long and trying battle with cancer, which she eventually overcame after undergoing an, at the time, highly experimental clinical trial called T-cell therapy.
Whitehead’s words were an emotional first hand reminder of how vital and impactful Cryoport’s work is.
“We do three things: we help support the creation of life through reproductive medicine, we help sustain life through protein production via animal health, and, through biopharma, we help to save lives,” Shelton told New Jersey Business Magazine. “I think that is what everyone at Cryoport is driven by.”
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