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Research & Development FAQs

Please find below a collection of FAQs regarding the logistical requirements surrounding R&D, including best practice for using dry ice shipping solutions and how to apply for shipping licences.

  • How do I assemble and use a pellet dry ice shipping system?

    Dry ice is available in solid blocks or as individual pellets of a few centimetres length. Pellet dry ice is most convenient for assembling dry ice shipping systems as it is easy to pour and naturally fills available space. Dry ice block would need to be prepared to the correct size to fit.

    A dry ice shipping system for moving frozen product starts with an insulated box. The product being shipped is normally loaded into the box first. A temperature monitor may also be included and should be started at the correct time.

    Now the dry ice needs to be loaded. Caution must be exercised when handling dry ice and all relevant Health & Safety procedures must be followed. Dry ice is very cold (around -80°C) so there is a risk of cold burns. It also gives off gaseous carbon dioxide – an asphyxiant – so must only be stored and used in appropriately ventilated and supervised areas.

    Dry ice pellets are usually simply poured on top of the product and temperature monitor. Guidance from the packaging manufacturer will determine how much dry ice is to be added. The shipping system should have been correctly validated to meet pharmaceutical documentation needs.

    Pellets usually come in 10kg bags – it’s worth bearing in mind that these bags will likely have a little more than 10kg in them when they arrive from the supplier but will lose weight in storage over time as carbon dioxide gas is given off. Thus a bag of dry ice used several days after delivery could have significantly less than 10kg inside. Thus weights may need to be checked against the expected bag contents.

    Once the desired quantity of dry ice has been loaded in the lid can be sealed. It’s important at this time to check pellets aren’t stuck in the seal of the lid – this could keep the lid ajar and allow a warm draft into the internal of the box.

    The sealed dry ice system is now ready to go off into the specialist logistics network.

  • Are materials controlled for export out of the UK or other countries?

    Yes some goods may require an export licence, such as CITES material, some pesticides and materials that are controlled under anti-terrorism and warfare laws. Biocair can advise you on export requirements.

  • I am planning a study containing animal products, do I need to contact Biocair?

    We can advise you regarding different permits required. A change to the constituents of a nutrient broth could negate the need for a permit. It’s always wise to check first.

  • Does Biocair have a license to move "controlled drugs"?

    Biocair is a courier company, as such we do not require a licence to move controlled drugs. The shipper/consignee must apply for the licences to move the materials. Biocair will need to see a copy of this licence before the shipment can commence, as there may be certain conditions that concern transport.

  • Do I need to consider licenses if my shipment is being exported to another EU country?

    Many EU countries have their own import requirements which sit alongside EU regulations. Some materials will require licences wherever they are sent. It is always wise to check with us.

  • What licenses are required for shipment?

    As with any aspect of regulatory compliance, the license requirements will depend upon the following criteria:

    • Nature of the material
    • Country of origin
    • Destination
    • Final use

    Each of these aspects will affect which regulatory agencies are concerned with the consignment and consequently what licenses and/or documents will be required.

    Biocair Note: Biocair offers specific regulatory advice dependant upon these details.

  • How do I apply for a license?

    The application process for licenses will vary depending upon the country of origin and destination. Some regulatory agencies offer electronic submissions services, whereas others require hardcopy applications.

    Biocair Note: Biocair can offer advice as to the application process dependant upon the specific licenses required.

  • What information is required to ensure that a consignment is shipped in a compliant manner?

    In brief, the following information should always be supplied to ensure that the applicable regulations can be provided:

    • Nature of the material
    • Country of origin
    • Destination
    • Final use
    • An MSDS/ details of any associated hazards

    Further required details will depend upon these factors.

    Biocair Note: Biocair will use the provided information to identify the appropriate regulations prior to shipping. Specific information will be requested in compliance with the regulations.

  • What are some examples of areas that would be regulated when considering the transport of pharmaceutical, biotechnological and medical research material?

    An example of some of the types of regulation / standards applicable locally, nationally and internationally would be:

    • Dangerous goods
    • Agricultural (plant and animal health)
    • Human health
    • Controlled drugs
    • Export control
    • Customs / trade compliance
    • Security
    • Endangered species

    Regulations change for different countries, even different ports into the country. These import reglations can change monthly. For instance if a country has had an outbreak of “ foot and mouth” disease they will find it difficult to export products containing bovine material (even FCS or BSA) to countries where there is a thriving beef trade. It is always wise to check with the specialist courier first.