Ember Technologies and Cardinal Health Partner to Transform the Pharmaceutical Cold Chain

On January 31, 2022 Ember Technologies, Inc. (Ember) and Cardinal Health (NYSE: CAH) reported a partnership to offer the world’s first self-refrigerated, cloud-based shipping box–the Ember Cube (Press release, Cardinal Health, JAN 31, 2022, View Source [SID1234607546]). Ember and Cardinal Health will collaborate to deliver a cold chain solution that ensures product integrity and security throughout the supply chain, while significantly reducing shipping waste in the transport of temperature-sensitive medicines.

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The Ember Cube is a digital shipping box that features cloud-based temperature reporting, GPS location tracking, and return-to-sender technology, versus the current industry standard for transporting temperature-sensitive medicine which includes single-use ice packs, Styrofoam, and cardboard. The Ember Cube uses an onboard cellular radio to report real-time temperature and humidity tracking and GPS location information that can be viewed via Ember’s proprietary cloud-based dashboard. This patented technology allows for precision control, so medicines and vaccines arrive at the required temperature range, ready for use.

"Since Ember’s inception, it has been our goal to leverage our temperature control technology to serve the healthcare industry, with the ultimate mission of helping to improve and save lives," said Clay Alexander, Founder and Group CEO of Ember. "We have formed a powerful new partnership with Cardinal Health to codevelop and commercialize many of our patented healthcare industry inventions to bring this vision to life."

Cardinal Health plays a leading and critical role in delivering logistics solutions for specialty pharmaceutical products, which often have unique temperature requirements. As global spending on cold-chain pharmaceutical products grows to more than $21 billion by 20241, it will be increasingly critical to support the market with secure and sustainable cold storage solutions. Through its partnership with Ember, Cardinal Health will leverage its technology infrastructure and national presence as a leading distributor of pharmaceutical and medical products to hospitals, pharmacies, and physician clinics to deploy Ember’s cold chain technology, ensuring patients can access life-saving therapies.

"Cardinal Health is investing in digital solutions and technology to help our healthcare customers solve problems in innovative ways," said Heidi Hunter, President of Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions. "Our partnership with Ember utilizes technology solutions to set a new industry standard for real-time visibility and product integrity, while also providing transformative waste reduction."

"The Ember Cube will be a particularly relevant solution for the many cell and gene therapies that are in the drug development pipeline, due to their temperature sensitivity, high value and need for real-time integrated tracking," added Hunter.

Ember’s return-to-sender technology allows each Ember Cube to be reused hundreds of times, reducing waste, and eliminating single-use packaging. Once a healthcare provider has received its shipment of medicine, the Ember Cube uses its built-in cellular radio to communicate with the shipping service to schedule a pick-up, automatically providing its current GPS location. Once the Ember Cube notifies the shipping service that it is ready to be picked up, it generates a new shipping label on its e-ink screen and is returned to Cardinal Health’s distribution center.

Cardinal Health plans to launch a customer pilot for the Ember Cube in 2022.