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

31 October 2023

M&G Investments has made a US$57 million investment with SkyCell – a Swiss-based technology firm that is seeking to change the face of global pharmaceutical supply chains. Through its supply of temperature-controlled containers and technological solutions that prevent damage to vital medicine, SkyCell is also helping companies to address their CO2 footprint and move away from throw-away solutions.

M&G’s investment will support SkyCell’s continued international expansion as it increases production of specialist, temperature-controlled containers for the safe and reliable delivery of life-saving pharmaceuticals. The company currently transports circa US$1.5 billion of vaccines, cancer drugs, diabetes care and diagnostic solutions to patients globally each month.

With circa $US 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. SkyCell’s specialist hybrid containers protect from both high and low temperatures to ensure that critical medicines are viable when they reach patients. Their lightweight design also saves up to 50% of CO2 emissions compared to traditional cold chain containers and minimises landfill and throwaway packaging.

In addition, SkyCell’s proprietary software platform predicts CO2 impact, plans routes to maximise sustainability and oversees shipments around the world. An automated feature reduces approval times from days to hours, allowing important drugs to reach customers quickly whilst minimising 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 and its circa 5 million customers. Praveg Patil, from M&G’s investment team, joins the SkyCell board as a non-executive director.

Praveg Patil, Deputy Head of Investments (EMEA) at M&G Catalyst, comments: “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 amount of medicines that will be thrown away.

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 minimise landfill throwaway packaging. With this new investment, we can further accelerate along our growth path and strengthen our global footprint.”

Source: M&G
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