Cell therapy administration involves a complex supply chain ecosystem, with cryopreservation playing a critical part in workflows. When dry shippers are used to transport cryopreserved cell samples and products, unique challenges arise. Special considerations for cryogenic shipping include forecasting cryogenic standby time, accounting for fast warm-up profiles, and allocating dedicated infrastructure for recharge.
Cytiva developed the VIA Capsule™ system to address these challenges. This liquid-nitrogen free option uses electricity from a standard outlet to power a cryocooler that cools the chamber and maintains cryogenic temperatures. When the cryocooler is ready for transit, it is switched off and replaced by a low-profile transport cap to thermally insulate the chamber and passively maintain cryogenic temperatures. During transit, the temperature in the chamber will slowly and linearly increase in a predictable fashion, providing a standby time of 5 days below the critical threshold of -120°C.
To better understand time and temperature effects on transported cells, we stored cryopreserved cell lines for 5 or 10 days at different temperatures and examined cell characteristics post-thaw. Data shows that a 5-day transit at -100°C did not significantly impair cell parameters post-thaw compared to a 10-day period at -120°C. However, a longer transit period of 10 days at -100°C or warmer showed detrimental effects post-thaw. Similar results were found for liver, bone, and ovary cell lines.
Using ORBCEL™ stromal cell immunotherapy from Orbsen Therapeutics, we then validated the performance of the VIA Capsule™ system through an eight-leg journey in Ireland and Great Britain. This route was designed to simulate the complex cell therapy logistics pathway typical in clinical trials. Two samples were transported, and two others were kept at the original site in Galway as untransported controls. Our courier partner, World Courier, managed all transportation. After transport, both the transported samples and untransported controls yielded similarly high viabilities post-thaw. These results show that samples did not suffer from the eight-leg journey via air and road in the VIA Capsule™ system.
These findings suggest that the VIA Capsule™ system can provide a predictable liquid nitrogen-free cryogenic shipping solution that ensures a 5-day fully passive shipping window below -120°C. Additionally, the system’s simple handling and recharge flexibility helps mitigate effects from any unforeseen event or delay in transit.
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