The investment came from Catalyst, a part of M&G Investments’ $6B purpose-led private assets strategy. Catalyst focuses on investing in privately-owned businesses worldwide that tackle environmental and social issues.
Revolutionising global pharmaceutical logistics
SkyCell addresses the global challenge of safe medicine access with its Hybrid container concept. Its door-to-door solutions protect pharmaceuticals from extreme temperatures (-30°C to +70°C) and reduce the industry’s product loss due to temperature excursions.
According to a statement from SkyCell, safe access to medicine is a global challenge and $35B worth of products are lost per year due to temperature excursions in the supply chain.
Manufactured in Switzerland, SkyCell claims its containers have an exceptionally low failure rate of less than 0.1 per cent compared to the industry’s 2-12 per cent rate.
The company also says that its lightweight design and increased payload efficiency cut CO2 emissions by up to 50 per cent, offering a sustainable solution for the pharmaceutical industry’s 4.4 per cent share of global emissions.
Brief about SkyCell
Founded in 2013 by Richard Ettl and Nico Ross, SkyCell aims to be the preferred sustainability partner for the pharmaceutical supply chain by leveraging its platform to predict CO2 impact, optimise routes for sustainability, and ensure real-time oversight of global shipments.
With its automated approval system, the time taken for quality approvals has been cut from 14 days to hours, guaranteeing rapid delivery of crucial medications to consumers.
As a climate-neutral company compensating for emissions, SkyCell aims for end-to-end net-zero by 2040, aligning with the Paris Agreement and UN sustainable development goals.
Endorsed by the top 20 pharma companies, it’s the third global leader in temperature-controlled air freight solutions and has secured investments from partners like Lazard Asset Management, MVM, ADQ, and SHUAA Capital.
SkyCell says it will use the funds to expand its global presence after the company witnessed significant growth – a compound growth rate of over 55 per cent in the past three years.
The company aims to enhance the availability of its containers by ramping up production and extending its global service centre network. SkyCell says this expansion helps serve its customers promptly within a 24-hour notice directly from their manufacturing hubs worldwide.
Additionally, SkyCell is playing a crucial role in steering pharmaceutical companies away from disposable solutions, contributing to the industry’s shift towards a carbon-neutral pharmaceutical supply chain.
Currently, the company transports over $1.5B worth of pharmaceutical goods monthly, delivering vital treatments like vaccines, cancer therapies, diabetes care, and diagnostic solutions to patients globally.
Co-founder Ettl says, “We are delighted to welcome M&G as a long-term partner as we continue our global expansion apace. Safe and reliable cold chain supply is a critical challenge for the global pharmaceutical industry, in particular with the fast growth of temperature-sensitive biologics medicine.”
“Furthermore, the wider industry has ambitious targets towards net zero which for most includes their supply chain. Currently, 70+ per cent of pharmaceuticals travel around the world in throwaway solutions. 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 per cent 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,” adds Ettl.
Strengthening the management team
SkyCell has bolstered its management team by appointing Dr Remo Gerber, former COO of aviation pioneering firm Lilium, as Chief Financial Officer.
Dr Gerber, with a background at McKinsey & Co, has leadership experience in fast-growing businesses like Gett, a ride-hailing company where he was the MD for Western Europe, and Groupon, where he was COO for Northern Europe.
Additionally, Praveg Patil from M&G’s Catalyst team has joined SkyCell’s board as a non-executive director.
Speaking on the investment, Patil says, “We believe the innovative design of the SkyCell solution will play a key role in decarbonising the pharmaceutical supply chain and ensure zero waste.”
“From an impact perspective, this investment covers two key thematic areas for Catalyst – climate solutions and healthcare and provides our investors with exposure to the attractive growth potential of high-end biological pharmaceutical products.”