Phil: If we have the innovation around the formulation of the cells themselves, we will be able to reach a position where we can have true flexibility on whether or not we're looking at fresh or frozen transportation. This will enable us to define a fuller strategy for the logistical aspect of ATMP commercialization that is centered around what is best for all patients wherever they are in the world, rather than our ambitions being restricted by geography. That is where I'm hoping the future will go.
Bill: We will move much more towards frozen, particularly for treatments where we need to store large batches of cells. Cryopreservation gives us the flexibility to do that. While the infrastructural challenges associated with freezing are not going to go away, rising demand for ATMPs will mean that more and more treatment centers are going to be equipped with the technology to handle frozen therapies. As an industry, we have to support where we can in these areas.
Michael: When allogeneic is an option, we can look at centralized manufacturing and storage solutions and most likely, frozen set ups. But when it is not an option, for instance with CAR-T and other cell therapies, there might be a bigger need for point of care or fresh logistics. We will have to follow science and see.
Andrea: The cell therapy space is growing in both size and complexity. Innovations in formulation and storage may well make it possible to extend the non-frozen shelf lives of some therapies to enable them to be transported easily worldwide from a single location, or even to allow higher-temperature frozen transport. However, this is unlikely to be the case for all products - some will still need cryopreservation to enable long-term storage and long-distance transit.
With this in mind, I think we are going to have to see cryogenic infrastructure extended globally to ensure therapies are delivered effectively to the patients that need them, whatever the products’ storage needs. Logistics experts are leading the way here, investing in the equipment and capability to transport sensitive treatments worldwide, and identifying creative transit solutions to reach all patients wherever they are being treated.