Panasonic enters a $22 billion vaccine storage race with ultracold carrier

Panasonic received several requests from European and American logistics companies to cure test ultra-cold freezer box. This freezer container was developed for transporting Covid-19 vaccines

The Japanese government is preparing to roll out the Covid-19 inoculation program towards February-end. This drew massive criticism from the Japanese public over the slow growth of the program. “There is a severe shortage of the vaccine freezer boxes even as the medicine vaccine rollout started around the globe,” Shinya Kojima, the chief engineer of Panasonic’s home appliances unit, stated. “We received so many inquiries from around the world, including the countries of Japan, the United States, Singapore, France, South Korea, and China.”

Mr. Kojima adopted the energy-saving technology of Panasonic in refrigerators to develop a portable freezer box. This box will be used to transport vaccines, and other medical materials at a temperature of -70 ° C. There are two types of freezer boxes. The larger 120-liter box can store 5,000 doses of vaccine efficiently at ultra-cold temperature for 18 days. The box packs 34 kg of dry ice in the package.

The company earlier developed a similar product in 2019. However, Mr. Kojima recently launched a new project around December that improves the vaccine storage conditions and meets the specific requirements of the Covid-19 vaccines that are in the under-development phase. With specific upgrades, the freezer boxes can now store the vaccine developed by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech. The vaccines should be transported at – 70 ° C. Last week, the Japanese government engaged in a deal agreed with US pharmaceutical company Pfizer to incorporate 144 million doses of its injection. Such a massive count is enough to inoculate a total of half of the country’s population.

Panasonic plans to distribute developed samples of its freezer boxes. These are named Vixell and will be transported to pharmaceutical and logistics companies from March-end. However, though the company didn’t disclose any prices and production plans for the freezer boxes, Mr. Kojima stated that several thousand freezer boxes would start soon. The capacity would also increase.

 The shares of Panasonic rose 8.4% since the company unveiled the freezer-box storage technology. It also portrayed a tremendous investor interest in the growth potential of the company’s vaccine storage business. Considering the scale of production and investment that Panasonic holds, the freezer storage boxes are unlikely to impact the revenue part in the short term significantly. Panasonic has a long history in refrigeration and freezing technology and holds a minority stake in PHC Holdings. PHC Holdings is a former healthcare unit and a ruling player in vaccine storage, now controlled by the private equity group.

The vaccine storage and packaging business market is predicted to grow extensively from $ 22.3 billion in 2020 to a staggering $ 43.3 billion by 2027. American market research entity Grand View Research stated that the storage process would generate the most considerable revenue. Other notable players of the medical freezer market include Thermo Fisher Scientific in the United States and Chinese home appliance maker Haier. Mr. Kojima also stated that the freezer storage boxes could also store several medical drugs and semiconductor materials that need strict temperature control methods beyond vaccines. “We will conduct a thorough research study of the market reaction and then look on to ways to develop the business,” he stated.

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Anna Domanska
Anna Domanska is an Industry Leaders Magazine author possessing wide-range of knowledge for Business News. She is an avid reader and writer of Business and CEO Magazines and a rigorous follower of Business Leaders.

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