M&G’s Catalyst invests $57 million with SkyCell to improve transportation of temperature-controlled medicines

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

M&G’s Catalyst invests $57 million with SkyCell

Related tags Investment Pharmacology Temperature control Medicine M&G Investments Supply chains

M&G Investments has made a $57 million investment with Swiss-based tech firm, SkyCell and says it is seeking to change the face of international pharma supply chains.

By supplying temperature-controlled containers and tech solutions that prevent damage to vital medicine, SkyCell says it is helping companies address their CO2 footprint by moving away from throwaway solutions.

The investment will support SkyCell’s continued international expansion as it increases the production of specialist, temperature-controlled containers for the safe and reliable delivery of life-saving pharmaceuticals.

The company currently transports circa $1.5 billion of vaccines, cancer drugs, diabetes care, and diagnostic solutions to patients around the world every month.

Temperature deviation - $35 billion pharma product loss 

With around $35 billion of pharmaceutical products lost annually due to temperature deviation, safe and reliable cold chain supply is a critical challenge for the global pharmaceutical industry, particularly with the rapid growth of temperature-sensitive medicines.

Praveg Patil, from M&G’s investment team, joins the SkyCell board as a non-executive director.

He is also deputy head of investments (EMEA) at M&G Catalyst and said: “There’s a huge shortage of long-term, scale-up funding for ‘hard science’ companies developing IP-based solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems, and investors such as M&G can play an important role in helping these businesses to grow and provide much-needed capital at various stages.

“By becoming a long-term partner to SkyCell, we are enabling the global pharmaceutical industry to develop more sustainable ways of transporting temperature-sensitive medicines and reducing the number of medicines that will be thrown away.”

Specialist hybrid containers

SkyCell says its specialist hybrid containers protect from both high and low temperatures to make sure that critical medicines are viable when they reach patients. They are lightweight in design and save up to 50% of CO2 emissions compared to traditional cold chain containers and minimize landfill and throwaway packaging.

In addition, SkyCell’s proprietary software platform predicts CO2 impact and then plans routes to maximize sustainability so it can oversee shipments around the world. An automated feature reduces approval times from days to hours, allowing important drugs to reach customers quickly whilst minimizing inventory and expense for its pharmaceutical clients.

M&G’s investment was made by Catalyst, the firm’s £5 billion purpose-led flexible private assets strategy, which invests in innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest environmental and social challenges on behalf of the £129 billion Prudential With-Profits Fund with its five million customers.

Ambitious net zero targets

Welcoming the new investment, Richard Ettl co-founder and CEO of SkyCell, adds: “We are delighted to welcome M&G as a long-term partner as we continue our global expansion apace. The wider industry has ambitious targets towards net zero as currently more than 70% of pharmaceuticals are distributed in throwaway packaging.

“This is a significant contributor to both CO2 impact and landfill, and we will increasingly see regulatory pressures to address this in the form of import taxes. SkyCell’s containers save up to 50% of CO2 emissions compared to traditional cold chain containers and minimize landfill throwaway packaging. With this new investment, we can further accelerate along our growth path and strengthen our global footprint.” 

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