Zug – The British airline Virgin Atlantic is now transporting sensitive pharmaceutical products such as vaccines in smart containers developed by SkyCell. Using sensors and blockchain technology, these are able to monitor the status of precious cargo in real time.

Smart Container
Image credit: Drew Dempsey


With Pharma Secure, the British airline Virgin Atlantic launched a service for the transportation of pharmaceutical products. For around a year now, Virgin Atlantic has been handling the transportation of temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products – including vaccines.

The company recently started using smart containers developed by the Zug-based start-up SkyCell for this purpose, as detailed in a press release. These are equipped with sensors that are connected to a software solution on the basis of blockchain technology. In this way, all data on temperature and humidity, for example, can be mapped in real time and made visible to all parties involved in the process.

The SkyCell containers boast a failure rate of less than 0.1 percent, the press release states, which represents a significant upgrade on the failure rate of conventional pharma transportation solutions, estimated by SkyCell to stand at 12 percent. This is said to have cost the pharmaceutical industry around 34 billion US dollars in 2019 alone.

Furthermore, thanks to an innovative cooling technology, the SkyCell containers weigh less than conventional containers. The company is also committed to a circular economy concept based on the use of recycled materials in production processes. According to the press release, customers of the start-up can reduce their CO2 emissions by almost 50 percent by using its containers.

“We look forward to working together to transport crucial vaccines and pharmaceutical products to the UK and around the world on our global network”, comments Dominic Kennedy, Managing Director at Virgin Atlantic, in the press release.

SkyCell was founded in 2012. Roughly twelve months ago, the start-up secured financing in the amount of 62 million Swiss francs.

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