Franklin-based company supplying special packaging for newly-authorized Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

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When the newly-authorized COVID-19 vaccine from Cambridge-based Moderna ships out to be administered across the United States, the valuable vials will be transported inside a product made by another Massachusetts company.

“Fairly early on we knew that our products, one way or another, would play a role in the COVID pandemic,” said Ranjeet Banerjee, CEO of Franklin-based Cold Chain Technologies.

The company said it is manufacturing thermal packaging materials for the effort in Massachusetts and at a new facility in Tennessee. Banerjee confirmed that Moderna will be using his company’s products in the distribution of the newly authorized vaccine.

“We started preparing in advance, assuming that we will play a key role because we are one of the leading companies in this area in the world. And then as things started evolving, many of our customers like pharma companies and distributors and our partners, they reached out to us and we are supporting them fully,” Banerjee said.

Friday’s authorization from the FDA puts 5.9 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine into the pipeline for delivery to hospitals and other facilities across the country. Shipments are expected to begin over the weekend from McKesson distribution centers.

Temperatures required for the safe storage and transportation of the Moderna vaccine are less extreme than what is required for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, but it must still be kept cold. While the Moderna vaccine can remain stable at the temperature maintained by a standard refrigerator for 30 days, Banerjee says the shipping materials will maintain a temperature close to -20 degrees.

“We come up with packaging solutions that are optimized and then we test them. We’ve got very thorough and rigorous capabilities to test these products to make sure that the precious cargo that they will contain — the vaccines — they are not going to get ineffective because they have had a temperature excursion,” said Banerjee.

Banerjee said the shipping products also have the ability to track the temperature during the transportation of the vaccine.

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