Maersk and COVAXX partner to supply global COVID-19 vaccines
The agreement outlines a framework for all transportation and supply chain services that will be needed to deliver COVAXX’s vaccine candidate UB-612 worldwide, once approved by regulatory authorities.
COVAXX is currently developing UB-612 through a high precision, synthetic peptide platform that activates both B-cell and T-cell arms. The investigational vaccine has been manufactured to replicate natural biology and preclinical studies have outlined high immunogenicity and levels of neutralising titers against SARS-COV-2. The technology platform has been successful in commercialising blood diagnostics as well as safe and effective vaccines for infectious disease in animal health and has been tested in a number of clinical trials for other indications to date.
The organisation is currently conducting Phase 1 clinical trials of UB-612 in Taiwan and has an agreement with the University of Nebraska Medical Centre to conduct Phase 2 trials in the United States, upon regulatory approval. The firm has advanced pre-commitments for more than 100 million doses of UB-612 worldwide.
COVAXX's overall aim is to defeat COVID-19 and ultimately democratise health globally. Maersk’s role in making this vision a reality is to oversee all logistics activities in order to ensure efficient transportation to developing countries. The agreement provides for end-to-end supply chain management, packing and shipping, via air or ocean, ground transportation, warehouse storage and distribution to facilities in order to support COVAXX’s requirements for a pharmaceutical grade, temperature-controlled supply chain.
Overall, COVAXX aims to manufacture around 100 million doses of UB-612 during early 2021, and a billion doses by the end of 2021. The design of the vaccine components will enable the use of existing cold chain storage and distribution channels, as the COVAXX vaccine doesn’t require additional infrastructure like -80⁰C freezers or liquid nitrogen tanks to store materials at extreme temperatures.
“The COVAXX vaccine is unique in that it can be stored in the fridge you have at home, moved in the same trucks that deliver groceries and administered anywhere you can get a flu shot,” commented Lou Reese Co-Chief Executive Officer of COVAXX.
“Our team, which now proudly includes Maersk, is committed to addressing the needs of countries where the greatest unmet needs exist today,” added Mei Mei Hu, co-Chief Executive Officer of COVAXX. “To do what is in the best interests of society at this time of the global health crisis, we are aligning with the strongest leaders in their respective industries to meet the large-scale demand and compliance requirements that we expect. It is not enough to focus on vaccine development and approvals. We must work in parallel to establish the infrastructure and partners with the strongest capabilities, like Maersk, to safely deliver our vaccine around the world.”
“Efficient and safe delivery of COVID-19 vaccines around the world is the most urgent logistics challenge we face today. A. P. Moller – Maersk is committed to working closely with COVAXX to ensure smooth end-to-end global delivery of this vaccine as soon as it becomes available,” said Rob Townley, Head of Special Project Logistics at Maersk. “Our specialised logistics expertise and the global infrastructure of Maersk make this a perfect match.”
Pandora and IBM digitise jewellery supply chain
Pandora has overhauled its global supply chain in partnership with IBM amid an ecommerce sales boom for its hand-finished jewellery.
The company found international success offering customisable charm bracelets and other personalised jewellery though its chain of bricks and mortar retail destinations. But in 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak forced physical stores to close, Pandora strengthened its omnichannel operations and doubled online sales.
A focus on customer experience included deploying IBM’s Sterling Order Management, increasing supply chain resiliency and safeguarding against disruption across the global value chain.
Pandora leverages IBM Sterling Order Management as the backbone it its omnichannel fulfilment, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud powering its ecommerce. Greater automation across its channels has boosted the jeweller’s sustainability credentials, IBM said, streamlining processes for more efficient delivery. It has also given in-store staff and virtual customer service representatives superior end-to-end visibility to better meet consumer needs.
Jim Cruickshank, VP of Digital Development & Retail Technology, Pandora, said the digital transformation journey has brought “digital and store technology closer together and closer to the customer”, highlighting how important the customer journey remains, even during unprecedented disruption.
"Our mission is about creating a personal experience and we've instituted massive platform changes with IBM Sterling and Salesforce to enable new digital-first capabilities that are much more individualised, localised and connected across channels and markets,” he added.
Pandora’s pivot to digital
The pandemic forced the doors closed at most of Pandora’s 2,700 retail locations. To remain competitive, it pivoted to online retail. Virtual queuing for stores and virtual product trials via augmented reality (AR) technology went someway to emulating the in-store experience and retail theatre that is the brand’s hallmark. Meanwhile digital investments in supply chain efficiency was central to delivering on consumer demand.
“Consumer behaviour has significantly shifted and will continue to evolve with businesses needing to quickly adapt to new preferences and needs,” said Kareem Yusuf, General Manager, AI Applications and Blockchain, IBM. “To address this shift, leading retailers like Pandora rely on innovation to increase their business agility by enabling and scaling sustainable supply chain operations using AI and cloud.”
Yusuf said Pandora’s success was indicative of how to remain competitive by “finding new ways to create differentiated customer experiences that protect their enterprises from disruptions to help mitigate risk and accelerate growth”.