DHL’s Bio Pharma Hub is born

Health, prevention and logistics. Until just a year ago they seemed futuristic speeches, today it is reality. The interconnections between production, demand and supply are changing the face of the logistics sector, as they are increasingly linked to public health needs. We see it every day, we experience it on our skin. Hence, DHL strongly aims at specializing in the pharmaceutical market by opening a new hub entirely dedicated to companies in the Hospital & Specialty Pharma sector in Settala, in the province of Milan. An important investment of over 3 million euros, in a difficult historical moment but in which the logistics sector is highlighting its strategic role in supporting citizenship and an economic revival of the country. A specialized team operates within the new hub for the management of sensitive products that require temperature-controlled logistics. With an area of ​​6,000 square meters, the new “cold store” guarantees an innovative 360 ​​° management of the biotechnological product, from entry into the plant to the moment of entrusting it to transport. The drug in every step, from inbound to outbound, is handled in an environment with a constant temperature range of 2-8 ° C, preventing the risk of thermal excursions. The Hub also integrates solutions for the management of multi-temperature situations (down to -20 ° C and -80 ° C) for vaccines and frontier therapies. Innovative technologies, such as serialization, guarantee multiple benefits: automation of the serialization process, tracking of each individual drug package up to its destination, digitization of data, immediate availability of the unique identifier to be provided to the competent authorities in the event of a product recall. With a storage capacity of up to 8,000 pallets at 2-8 ° C, the Hub currently handles over 41 million packages of specialist and biotechnological drugs.

“At a time of great transformation in the sector, characterized by increasingly sensitive and delicate therapies, we have decided to focus on a project dedicated to Biotech and to all products that need a very specialized cold chain. The new structure is part of the growth path of our company – declared Antonio Lombardo, President and CEO of DHL Supply Chain Italy – not only from an economic point of view but above all in the evolution of the challenges we face. Biotech and advanced therapies represent a completely new approach to treatment and require adequate methods and procedures also from a logistical point of view. From research to production, to regulations, to access to the market, the whole plant must be revised to better manage the potential of the new line and logistics is no exception “.

“Biotech increasingly represents a significant share of drugs in development. Already today, globally, 50% of products in clinical trials derive from biotechnological processes and OECD estimates tell us that in 2030 80% of pharmaceutical products will be biotech. This is why it becomes essential to combine precision medicine, such as that using biotech drugs, with precision logistics. Integrity of the cold chain, high security, traceability and serialization of each unit, the ability to manage storage and transport at different temperatures are already key elements for patient safety today and will be increasingly so in the future “- added Riccardo Palmisano President of Assobiotec, the National Association for the development of biotechnologies which is part of Federchimica, which participated in the inauguration of the new hub.

The new logistics campus is characterized by a series of solutions in line with the company’s Go Green environmental protection program. The site was built ensuring high energy efficiency and insulation level; thanks to high-performance dehumidification systems, the humidity rate is reduced in order to maximize the thermo-hygrometric comfort of the operators. A Control Tower, thanks to multiple and individually certified probes, guarantees precise control of the constant temperature in the range.

Other elements of characterization of the hub concern the advanced protection systems, a high-security area used for the storage of high-value materials and a GMP area, authorized by AIFA, for the management of vaccines and quarantined products, all always in an environment of 2-8 ° C.


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