Marken beefs up presence in Europe with three acquisitions

Focus is on clinical supplies in Italy, Austria and Hungary; unified management in the UK


Marken, the clinical logistics subsidiary of UPS, has acquired HRTL (Italy) HETO (Austria) and Der Kurier (Hungary), which cumulatively have been delivering 7,000 clinical trail shipments per month in their regions. According to Marken, each of the group’s locations are situated in close proximity to major airports (Rome, Milan, Vienna and Budapest) to provide maximum flexibility for expediting time and temperature-sensitive shipments. The region has become important not only for clinical trial patient recruitment, but also because of a concentration of sterile drug manufacturing.

With the acquisitions, Marken now offers GMP-compliant depots and logistics hubs in 51 locations across 26 countries; its staff of 1,000 manage 70,000 drug and biologic shipments monthly to more than 150 countries. Additional services include biological kit production, ancillary material sourcing, storage and distribution, shipment lane verification and qualifications, as well as GDP, regulatory and compliance consulting.

Last month, Marken announced that it will “assume responsibility” for Polar Speed, another UPS subsidiary, which provides pharmacy and cold chain services in the UK. Polar Speed operates 150 actively monitored temperature-controlled vehicles for transporting products, to 14,000 local pharmacies as well as home health deliveries, in accordance with UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) guidelines. Each company has been operating independently in the UK; now, the unified management “will enable greater knowledge sharing, significant pharmaceutical expertise and operational synergies,” according to Marken.