A new direct flight between London Heathrow and San Diego from 1st June 2011 will benefit the international biotech sector according to UK-based Biotec Services International.
Materials used to be shipped via Los Angeles or another US airport, which has longer journey times and, consequently, a higher risks of deviations in temperature or delays to sensitive biological products.
According to Biotec the direct flights will enable an easier and more secure transfer of products straight to London and minimising the potential for climatic changes.
Shipments made on a direct flight would leave in the evening from San Diego and arrive the next morning; whereas before, a lot leaving San Diego early morning via Los Angeles would not arrive in the UK until morning the next day.
Transit flights to other US airport adds many hours to the transportation time as pharmaceutical products have to be off loaded, inspected and then transferred to another plane in order to comply with shipping regulations.
This can pose risks to the quality and validity of the products as any deviation outside of the shipping temperature could render them useless and invalid when they eventually reach their destination.
The is particularly an issue for clinical trial materials, which are almost always temperature sensitive and according to rules governing clinical research have to stay within a very strict temperature range, typically 2 to 8 C, -15 to -25C below -65C and +15 to +25C .
Also if there was a delay with the first plane, the shipment misses the connection, which can mean a long delay up to 24 hours, adding the risk of the shipment not getting loaded on the second flight or being misrouted.
Jeremy Martin, Technical Support Manager of Biotec has said these flights “will help us to overcome previous connection issues, making the whole process quicker and more attractive for our customers.”
This was echoed by Biotec’s Fiona Withey who said: “As we continue to grow our offering in the US we are increasingly targeting virtual, small, medium or large bio/pharmaceutical companies looking to conduct clinical trials within Europe, and we hope that these new direct flights make our offering all the more appealing to prospective clients.