The move follows Marken’s receipt of Beijing Ministry of commerce approval (MOFCOM) approval for an expanded business license which CEO Wes Wheeler said the firm applied for in response to the growing Chinese market.
“There is an increasing need in the region and we plan to accommodate this need, especially in the transport and storage of drug product, API and clinical samples” he told Outsourcing-pharma.com, adding that “regulations in China and Japan are complex, requiring special skills and know-how in the region, and we are responding to this challenge.”
The new Beijing depot – which is scheduled to be operational in the second quarter this year – is one of a number of facilities Marken has setup around the world in an expansion programme that – according to Wheeler – is set to continue in 2012.
“Facilities have been identified in Bangalore, Beijing, Frankfurt and New York and will be brought on stream during the middle part of 2012. Opportunities are being evaluated in Korea, Russia and Latin America for consideration before the end of the year.”
News of Marken’s expansion in China comes hot on the heels of media speculation the firm has hired investment bank, Houlihan Lokey, to help it assess its options – including a potential restructuring move - after losing a ‘major client.’
The argument put forward in an article on thedeal.com is that Marken’s focus on sample logistics means it faces more competition than contractors that concentrate on the more closely regulated field of drug distribution.
Wheeler declined to comment on the speculation – citing Marken’s private status and policy of not disclosing financial information – but did say the firm is poised to broaden the scope of its business.
“The company is financially sound and is in the process of shifting its strategy to expand services and geographies. We plan to transform from a premium courier to a full service supply chain services company.”
He also denied the allegation Marken’s client base has shrunk in recent years, explaining that: “We have not lost a single client and in fact are adding clients as we add services.
“Over the last 12 months we have expanded our global footprint, upgraded our operational software commissioned three fully owned depots and added 10 per cent to our operational employee base to support our growing depth of capabilities.”