How Phononic is Working to Solve Last Mile Vaccine Delivery

December 16, 2020

Tony Atti recently offered key insights to Investor’s Business Daily on the many challenges of vaccine distribution and how Phononic was working to solve the issues surrounding last mile delivery and administration.

From the Article: “These Vaccine Stocks Must Pull Off ‘Mind-Boggling’ Distribution Feat”

When the first doses of Pfizer’s (PFE) coronavirus vaccine were packed with dry ice in Michigan and shipped across the U.S. this weekend, it set into motion a sprawling distribution infrastructure that will face its biggest test in modern history — and highlighted some surprising vaccine stock plays.

As the first shots go into patients’ arms, companies like Corning (GLW) will make glass for vials. Becton Dickinson (BDX) and Retractable Technologies (RVP) will produce syringes and needles. UPS (UPS), FedEx (FDX), American Airlines (AAL) and others will shuttle the vaccine from airports and other drop-off points to hospitals, pharmacies or other distribution areas.

Elsewhere, refrigeration giant Carrier (CARR) will make sensor-equipped portable freezer containers to help with storage. Drug distributor McKesson (MCK) will help package together syringes, wipes and other equipment needed to give people shots of the medication. Workers from CVS Health (CVS), Walgreens (WBA) and other vaccination sites will deliver the injections.

Some of these supply chain and logistics vaccine stocks have already received millions from the government. Some stand to take in hundreds of millions more — either pocket change or a substantial haul depending on the size of the business.

Solving the “Last Mile”

Shipping vaccines is one thing. But finding enough storage capacity is another. Pfizer’s packaging contains nearly 1,000 doses. That may be too much for sparsely-populated areas that don’t have the money for ultracold storage.

“If you ship 1,000 doses to rural Alabama when we’re targeting very specific populations, then you either need to bring the people to where the vaccine is, or you need to bring the vaccine to where the people are,” said Julie Swann, a professor at North Carolina State University and a health supply chain expert.

“The personnel for the mass vaccination clinic, the mobile van and the appropriate cold-chain storage: That all costs money that has not yet been provided,” she continued.

Tony Atti, CEO of Phononic, a refrigeration chipmaker in Durham, N.C., said he wasn’t aware of any deep-freeze refrigeration that could handle the last leg of a vaccine’s journey.

“That’s a part of the cold chain, often called the last mile, that people will just completely forget,” he said. “It’s one thing to pack a refrigerated or frozen plane or truck. But when it gets to a hospital, a clinic, a pharmacy, a parking lot, a recreational park, that level of storage and distribution just isn’t available.”

Phononic is developing a refrigerated tote, initially intended for groceries, to handle the vaccine’s transit to the finish line. The totes can handle vaccines like Moderna’s.

“We have to anticipate how a first-line provider would toss a tote around in a parking lot while there’s vaccines inside,” he said.

Read full article by Bill Peters from Investor’s Business Daily: Coronavirus Vaccine Stocks Sorting Through Logistical Labyrinth

Learn more about Phononic’s actively cooled containers for last mile delivery