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SkyCell raises $57M to build hybrid containers to transform pharmaceutical logistics

SkyCell funding
Picture credits: SkyCell

SkyCell, a Swiss startup remodelling the pharmaceutical supply chain with its hybrid containers, has netted $57 million in funding. The investment came from Catalyst, M&G Investments’ $6 billion purpose-led private assets strategy. 

The investment comes as SkyCell expands its global footprint following compound growth of more than 55% over the last three years. The company is further scaling up the availability of its containers through the increase in production and expansion of its global service centre network to serve its customers within 24 hours’ notice at their global manufacturing hubs. 

In addition to the investment, Praveg Patil, Deputy Head of EMEA Investment for M&G’s Catalyst team has also joined SkyCell’s board as a non-executive director.

CO2 neutral pharma supply chain

SkyCell is helping pharma companies move away from throw away solutions, as the industry transitions to a CO2 neutral pharma supply chain. The company transports over $1.5 billion of pharma goods per month delivering hundreds of million doses of vaccines, cancer treatments, diabetes care and diagnostic solutions to patients around the world. 

The company transforms the pharmaceutical supply chain through a combination of proprietary software, hardware, and big data. It allows pharma companies to optimise their supply chain by reducing, and even predicting, the risks associated with delivering sensitive drugs by air. Its automated approval capability reduces quality approval time from an average of 14 days to just hours, getting life-changing drugs to consumers faster.

The pharmaceutical industry has a significant carbon footprint challenge, making up 4.4% of global emissions, and executives are focused on reducing the impact of their supply chains. SkyCell helps companies address their CO2 footprint at pace and is gearing up to become the sustainability partner of choice for the global pharma supply chain. 

Invests hybrid container concept

Founded by Nico Ros and Richard Ettl in 2013, SkyCell invents the hybrid container to protect temperature-sensitive pharma goods during transit. It provides a solution to tackle the $35 billion worth of products that are lost every year because of temperature excursions in the supply chain.

Its containers avoid loading at airports through its door-to-door container solutions and protect from ambient temperatures as low as -30°C and as high as +70°C. This proprietary and high-precision design is manufactured in Switzerland. These containers have an independently audited failure rate of less than 0.1% versus an accepted industry rate between 2% and 12%. The company ensures high-value medicines are viable when they reach patients whilst significantly reducing waste for pharma companies. SkyCell’s lightweight design and greater payload efficiency reduce CO2 emissions by up to 50%. 

Welcoming the new investment, Richard Ettl, co-founder and CEO of SkyCell, said: “Currently, 70+% 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% 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.”

SkyCell’s CFO, Dr. Remo Gerber, said: “This is an exciting moment to join SkyCell as it enters the next phase of profitable growth as an established global innovator. SkyCell brings deep technology to solve a significant challenge for the pharmaceutical industry, reducing risk and environmental impact whilst saving both time and money. With this additional investment, SkyCell is well positioned for sustained growth in a fast-expanding market.” 

Praveg Patil, Deputy Head of EMEA Investments at M&G’s Catalyst team, said: “We are delighted to join SkyCell on its mission to deliver life-saving drugs globally in a safe and reliable manner. 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.”

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