UPS to buy pharma logistics specialist Marken

07 / 11 / 2016

UPS will strengthen its presence in healthcare logistics with the purchase of Marken, a global supply chain specialist serving the pharmaceutical and life science industries.

The US-based parcels and logistics giant has entered into a definitive purchase agreement to acquire Marken, subject to regulatory approval, which will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of UPS. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Teresa Finley, UPS chief marketing and business services officer, said: “Healthcare logistics is a strategic market for UPS. Our acquisition of Marken strengthens our portfolio and demonstrates our commitment to customers.

“We plan to offer new solutions to our customers and generate further growth opportunities for UPS.”  

UPS said that clinical trials require the strict regulatory compliance, streamlined logistics services and global reach offered by Marken.

The acquisition of Marken follows multiple UPS acquisitions that have expanded the company’s healthcare logistics services portfolio.

“We are excited to join the UPS organisation,” said Wes Wheeler, Marken’s chief executive. “UPS’ capabilities, particularly in mature markets, will provide many opportunities for us to enhance our service offerings in clinical trials logistics.

"With UPS, we will improve our efficiency, while continuing to provide our clients with the high-touch, personalized services that they have come to expect from us.”

Wheeler will continue to lead the Marken business.

Highlighting the reasons for the acquisition, UPS said that pharmaceutical companies, clinical research organisations and contract manufacturers “rely on Marken for collection and transportation of clinical trial material and investigational medicinal products to 49,000 clinical trial sites”.

Marken is also involved in the shipment of biological samples from these sites to central laboratories.

Said UPS in a statement: “These shipments are time- and temperature-sensitive, and their rapid, on-spec delivery is a key factor in the treatment of patients and the success of the clinical trial.”

Marken has more than 650 employees with an “asset-light” operating structure and 44 locations worldwide, including 10 depots that are compliant with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).

“UPS is focused on the logistics complexity of clinical trials, and the acquisition fits well into our long-term growth plans in the biopharma segment,” Finley added.

“Marken’s significant industry expertise and flexible network, combined with UPS’s vast integrated global air and ground networks, will provide the life sciences industry with an attractive portfolio of global logistics options.”

In July 2016, UPS announced expanded logistics capabilities for clinical trials. The company’s network includes temperature-sensitive storage and transportation (from ambient and controlled-room temperature, to frozen and cryogenics), 24-hour monitoring and security.

UPS now has more than 100 healthcare-dedicated facilities with 60 GMP-compliant locations strategically positioned within global markets.

The Air Cargo News Life Sciences and Pharmaceuticals Air Cargo Conference will take place in London this year at the Hilton London Heathrow Airport at Terminal 4 on November 22 and 23.