How Rutgers and Marken have partnered in the race to win over COVID-19
Piscataway, NJ – While many have been terrified by an invisible enemy, a group of drivers have known for sure that they are transporting and carrying the deadly coronavirus to the hands of Rutgers healthcare heroes with plastic face shields and white gowns.
Those drivers from Marken know that their mission of mobilizing serial bio samples is a key component to the multiple races for the life and well-being of the community, the country, and the world. Simply put, without these other kinds of heroes delivering nasopharyngeal swabs and blood to the Rutgers lab facilities, the cycle would not be completed.
“This project was very interesting because as a healthcare transport company we have been involved with clinical trials, with laboratories, universities. We were seeing the challenges (with the virus) through our big presence in Asia. We knew about the quarantine and shutdowns and ultimately the decision to be part of a humanitarian effort was made because there are only a few opportunities to give back and we wanted to have a meaningful impact,” said Dan Bell, senior vice president for the Americas Region at Marken. “We are a patient-centric business because everything we touch has a patient on one end.”
Marken is a subsidiary of the UPS Healthcare division dedicated to biological samples shipments worldwide. Rutgers was about to initiate a pioneering study of health care workers exposed to COVID-19 as well as clinical trials for treatments and needed to transport samples in a secured and timely way.
It only took a weekend for Kara Moore, director of Corporate Intelligence and Assessment for Rutgers’ Corporate Engagement Center; Reynold A. Panettieri, vice chancellor for Translational Medicine and Science at Rutgers University; and Dan Bell to reach an agreement for Marken to transport the samples for the Rutgers COVID-19 trials as a generous pro bono gift to Rutgers.
The cohort has been running at Rutgers Cancer Institute, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, and University Hospital in Newark.
“This is a ground-breaking study that went from concept to full recruitment in 14 days. Such a monumental task could not have been accomplished without an incredibly dedicated team of investigators and our Marken and UPS Express Critical® colleagues who have provided critical logistics,” said Panettieri, who is leading the study.
“We produced very specific guidelines and trainings. We had open conversations with the drivers, evaluated possible scenarios and challenges. We motivate our drivers because we know that this might save a life, might help develop a medicine. It is not just to ‘go pick up a box’,” added Bell. “The ability to communicate with Rutgers was just brilliant. The best results come when everybody works together and collaborates.”
Marken’s drivers have run an average of 150 miles per day for 53 days, making 483 deliveries as part of the fight against the virus and time.
About Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state of New Jersey’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Established in 1766, the university is the eighth oldest higher education institution in the United States. More than 70,000 students and 23,400 full- and part-time faculty and staff learn, work, and serve the public at Rutgers locations across New Jersey and around the world. www.rutgers.edu
As the premier public research university in the state, Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence, to conducting cutting-edge research that breaks new ground and aids the state’s economy, businesses, and industries, and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live. research.rutgers.edu
Marken is a wholly owned subsidiary of the UPS Healthcare division. With Polar Speed and Marken included, the UPS division staffs 128 locations with 5000 employees worldwide. Marken maintains the leading position for Direct to Patient and Home Health care services, biological sample shipments and offers a state-of-the-art GMP-compliant depot network and logistic hubs in 54 locations worldwide for clinical trial material storage and distribution. Marken’s dedicated 1200 staff members manage 85,000 drug and biological shipments every month at all temperature ranges in more than 220 countries. Additional services such as biological kit production, ancillary material sourcing, storage and distribution, shipment lane verification and qualifications, as well as GDP, regulatory and compliance consultancy add to Marken’s unique position in the pharma and logistics industry.