RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Marken, a global logistics company that serves the pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors, has expanded its headquarters and regional distribution operations in Durham to meet growing demand for shipment of clinical drug supplies, especially cell and gene therapies.
The facility, located on the Imperial Center campus just outside the boundary of Research Triangle Park, now spans 21,883 square feet, more than double its footprint in 2017, when Marken moved to the site.
The operation now employs 222 people, up from 47 four years ago.
Marken, a wholly owned subsidiary of UPS and part of that company’s healthcare division, celebrated the facility upgrade today with a ceremony, presentations and tours.
The expansion is part of a company-wide investment in greater capacity for cold-chain drug logistics worldwide.
“We are accelerating the expansion of our clinical supply chain network across all regions to provide increased flexibility and global access for our partners, including access in emerging markets like South Korea and Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Ariette van Strien, president of Marken. “These investments are especially critical for cell and gene therapy developers, where we see increased innovation enabled by mRNA, CAR-T, and viral vectors.”
With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expected to approve 10 to 20 cell and gene therapy products per year by 2025, Marken is positioning its supply chain network “to simplify the transition from clinical trials to commercialization,” van Strien said.
The Durham operations were established in 2011 with a handful of employees. The location was chosen due to its proximity to North Carolina’s large and growing bioscience industry, which conducts about 3,000 clinical trials, and other pharmaceutical hubs on the East Coast.
The Durham site is one of 58 Marken facilities worldwide that collectively employ about 1,700 people.
Functions at the site include marketing, regulatory compliance, technical affairs, regional project management, quality assurance, business development, legal, and human resources. Most of the company’s executive team is also based in Durham.
Marken serves life sciences clients in the pharmaceutical, biotech, contract research, cell and gene therapy, expanded access, and home healthcare sectors. Over the last year, it has supported more than 130 vaccine trials and over 3,500 total clinical trials, and handled more than 1.3 million total shipments.
The company manages 110,000 drug product and biological sample shipments every month at all temperature ranges in more than 220 countries. Additional services include ancillary material sourcing, storage and distribution, shipment lane verification and qualifications, as well as GDP (Good Distribution Practices), regulatory and compliance consulting.
Marken and UPS Healthcare have shipped more than 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines this year.