As befits a field where both the technical requirements and business opportunities are expanding globally, biopharma cold chain management is now getting an educational boost. Sonoco ThermoSafe, one of the leading packaging vendors in the field, has joined forces with Andrew Hurley, assistant professor at Clemson University, and with the management of the IQPC Global Cold Chain Forum to bring what it calls the industry’s first Temperature Assurance Packaging (TAP) certification to the industry.
Initially, the TAP program will be offered in two stages: an online, self-paced fundamentals course, and a “professional” course held live over one day and taught by a combination of university professors and industry experts. The former, which is offered for $295, is a requirement for the latter, whose pricing is not yet announced. The first professional-level course will be offered in conjunction with the upcoming IQPC Forum (Boston, Sept. 26-30). Course materials were developed by Sonoco ThermoSafe personnel, including those drawn from ISC Labs, an in-house testing and validation facility of the company, Hurley, and outside industry experts. Hurley, in turn, is affiliated with the Packaging School, an exclusive licensee of online learning technology developed at Clemson. Registration information is available here.
“The TAP program shares decades worth of ISC-Labs’ collective knowledge and expertise in design, development and qualification of temperature controlled packaging,” said Vishal Khushalani, director of global marketing and business development, Sonoco ThermoSafe, in a statement. “The course goes further to cover topics including temperature monitoring, global regulations and distribution considerations of temperature sensitive products.”
The TAP program isn’t the first time that students have gathered in a room to learn more about this field; the Parental Drug Assn. holds training sessions periodically, but beyond that, the pickings are quite slim. There is a trade assocation called the Global Cold Chain Alliance, but most of its effort is directed at perishable foods. World Courier, the clinical trials logistics business of AmerisourceBergen, has held training classes for its clients, but those are directed primarily at the clinical trials market. Cold chain practices are undoubtedly part of academic programs in packaging engineering or logistics, but those would be for more general applications as opposed to the specific constraints of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. If Sonoco ThermoSafe’s innovation is widely supported, it could be the start of something big.