The Key to Successful Lab Relocation

key to sample transport

When life science companies or academic investigators decide to move to new premises, their immediate reaction can often be one of stress and concern about how to transport valuable biological collections, lab animals, lab chemicals and high-value equipment. In many cases, moving biological material in controlled environments will be under strict regulatory scrutiny.

The priority in any lab relocation is to maintain the integrity of biological material. This requires careful planning and in-depth knowledge of regulatory compliance, the complexity of maintaining controlled temperature environments, and sample transport security. Most life science organizations choose to partner with an experienced lab relocation service provider to ensure the quality of their samples and reagents are maintained throughout the move.

Brooks Life Sciences provides unparalleled nationwide transport and relocation services. To expand and enhance our regulatory-compliant cold-chain logistics and relocation services Brooks recently acquired Pacific Scientific Transport (PST)1.

Brooks has successfully moved millions of frozen biological samples worldwide for all types of laboratories, academic institutes, and more. Here are some tips on what we’ve learned about how to make your lab relocation as smooth and trouble-free as possible:


Frozen Sample TransportFrozen Sample Transport

Many biological collections are irreplaceable2. Loss of biological samples can be very costly. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that cold-chain failures in vaccine transport alone cost almost $300 million dollars a year3.

The most important part of sample transport is to maintain sample integrity by preventing temperature-cycling. Temperature incursions above -80°C can adversely affect biological sample quality, especially if storing long-term4-6.

To avoid this, make sure all freezers used when transporting frozen samples are maintained according to manufacturer guidelines and have been validated and qualified. It is even more important to have back-up redundancies in case of freezer failure. These should include back-up freezers, back-up generators and liquid nitrogen units onboard each truck.

Regulatory-compliance and traceability is an important part of the process and requires the expertise of experienced lab moving professionals. Properly documented paperwork must be in place during the full chain of custody.


Lab Animal TransportLab Animal Transport

Lab animal studies look at the physiological and behavioral differences between treatment groups, as well as any changes in gene and protein expression or localization. The stress of a move can alter all of these parameters. Moreover, regulatory and ethical guidelines require that steps are taken to minimize any stress on lab animals during transport7.

The transport environments are tailored to the specific needs of the lab animals. At a minimum, the transport environment should be clean and temperature controlled and designed to minimize noise, stops and transport time8.


Hazmat TrailerRegulated Chemical Transport

Many of the chemicals commonly used in labs are classified as hazardous materials and are subject to regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Transportation (USDOT)9. Under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HTMA), there are rules on how to label, package and transport lab chemicals. Most American states require that drivers carrying hazardous materials have a license to do so. If transporting across several states, this can involve a lot of paperwork. Everyone who transports hazardous chemicals is also legally required to have undergone the appropriate training. Bearing all this in mind, it is usually most efficient to partner with an experienced relocation service provider.


How Brooks Life Sciences Can Help Relocate your Lab

Brooks Life Sciences’ has highly specialized cold-chain logistics and relocation teams who transport samples for all types of biopharmaceutical companies, laboratories and research institutions. We work with each client to tailor our systems to individual needs and make sure the move is as time efficient and cost-effective as possible while maintaining the integrity of your frozen collections.

Our experts are IATA and USDOT trained and certified in logistics and packaging. We follow best practices and are fully compliant with Federal and State regulations. 

We can provide controlled temperature environments ranging from ambient to -190°C and have multiple redundancies in place including back-up freezers, diesel-powered generators, and liquid nitrogen supply on trucks during transit. We also have regulatory-compliant temperature monitoring and alarmed security.

For more information or to request a quote, contact an expert today.



  1. Brooks Life Science Systems Announces Expansion of North America Sample Management Services with the Acquisition of Pacific Bio-Material Management, Inc.
  2. How to Move Your -80 Freezers to a New Job.
  3. Large Volume Dry Shipper Fleet Management.
  4. Shabihkani et al. The procurement, storage and quality assurance of frozen blood and tissue biospecimens in pathology, biorepository, and biobank settings. Clin Biochem. 2014.
  5. Effects of storage temperature and time on clinical biochemical parameters from rat serum. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2009.
  6. Long-term stability of biochemical markers in pediatric serum specimens stored at -80°C: a CALIPER substudy. Clin. Biochem. 2012.
  7. Guidelines for the Human Transportation of Research Animals. Good Practices in the Transportation of Research Animals. National Academies Press.
  8. Lab Animal Transport.
  9. Five Things to Know About Chemical Transport.
Leah Cannon

Leah Cannon, PhD

Dr. Cannon is senior scientific writing consultant with APEX Think Corporation. As a trained veterinarian and with a background in molecular biology, she has over 10 years of clinical and research experience. Her research focused on the genetics of inherited cardiac diseases and genetic changes in the aging heart. Dr. Cannon uses strategic marketing to help scientists and biotech companies build relationships with customers, investors and potential partners. Her strengths include developing and optimizing websites, creative content marketing and social media presence.