Nano PharmaSolutions will opt for air freight as their new tech floats in Los Angeles harbor


Nano PharmaSolutions (NPS) developed an enabling technology to improve the solubility of small molecule drugs for both new chemical compounds and already approved drugs. Its unique nanosizing method involves evaporating active drugs at low temperatures inside their novel NanoTransformer™ machine under very high vacuum. 

The second generation NanoTransformer™, which is fully automated and designed by NPS, was fabricated and shipped by a Korean vacuum manufacturer on a cargo ship in September. Due to the pandemic era logistics difficulties, finding space on this ship took almost a month and forced the team to consider air freight of the one-ton machine.  

But in early September, cargo ship space was secured, and the brand-new equipment started its long journey toward the Los Angeles harbor, only to be met with the notorious traffic at the harbor. As of today, the new NanoTransformer™ has been floating in LA waters for eight weeks along with hundreds of other cargo ships. 

At NPS in San Diego, CA, active customer projects are on hold for an indefinite amount of time because of this logistics nightmare. This dampens the excitement for market entry of this new innovative technology. Dr. Kay Olmstead, NPS’s Chief Executive Officer, reflected on the air freight vs. cargo ship dilemma. 

“The choice is clear for future shipments,” Olmstead said. “All shipments will come through air freight even at triple the cost of the cargo ship. In life sciences, as in many other fields, timely delivery of projects and services is paramount as the company builds its market space and reputation.”  

This is not the first time NPS has experienced extended delays on its orders. Several new equipment orders have experienced unprecedented long delivery times of three to four months due to the shortage of machine parts. Kay said the team at NPS is optimistic, but the uncertainty of the delivery timeline makes business planning difficult. NPS is currently sourcing chemicals from US-based vendors only.

US-based sourcing also faces the logistical challenges of scarce interstate trucking, especially on California highways. Last year, California air quality officials adopted their biggest pollution-cutting regulations, targeting diesel trucks and cargo ships that spew much of the state’s health-damaging pollution. While the clean air acts are beneficial for the health of Californians, this caused many owner-operator diesel truckers to lose their businesses, keeping them off the road. NPS is planning to expand its operation to the Mid-Atlantic region next year, and they’re already planning for the logistics of the move with help from vendors in the US. Small life science companies like NPS, which focus on innovative science, now must include logistics in the strategic planning for the coming year.