News & Opinion
The Sure Chill Company awarded $1.4 million to fund further innovation in the vaccine cold chain
Innovative refrigeration technology firm, The Sure Chill Company, has been awarded $1.4 million by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to use its ground-breaking technology to develop a life saving vaccine cooler as part of the foundation’s goal to eliminate preventable diseases worldwide. The cooler will be able to operate for over 35 days without power.
The grant will enable The Sure Chill Company to move from proof-of-concept to field trials within the next year. "The funds will allow us to integrate the revolutionary Sure Chill technology into a vaccine cooler, which will mean more lives can be saved in remote locations," explains Keith Bartlett, The Sure Chill Company’s Chief Executive Officer.
"Conventional refrigeration technologies can put vaccines at risk of either freezing or getting too warm. This reduces potency and means that immunisation programmes are not as effective as they could be. The Sure Chill Company’s technology ensures that vaccines reach children in optimum condition," Bartlett continues. "This robust, pragmatic and user-friendly cooling solution has the potential to save the lives of countless children across the world."
"The new vaccine coolers will be smaller than our existing vaccine refrigerators, making them ideal for small facilities in remote places. The devices will allow vaccines to be stored safely in challenging environments with no power and ambient temperatures as high as 43°C,” continued Ian Tansley, Chief Technical Officer and inventor, The Sure Chill Company.
The project will run for 15 months and see close collaboration with key partners, particularly in the field trials which will be conducted in East and West Africa later in the year.
The latest funding follows $100,000 already awarded to develop a proof of concept version of the cooler, bringing the total awarded to The Sure Chill Company by the foundation to $1.5 million.
The Sure Chill Company’s revolutionary refrigeration technology enables perfect cooling for vaccines with no risk of freezing. The technology harnesses a unique property of water to create a constantly chilled environment within the unit. The firm already has vaccine refrigerators operating in the field in over 30 countries and, in Q1 2014, shipped 200 devices to the Philippines to help UNICEF in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan.
Based in Wales, The Sure Chill Company has recruited a team of specialists with experience of working in remote locations in Africa and Asia to support its research and development (R&D) programme.
The technology is recognised by the World Health Organisation and endorsed by both Nobel Prize winner Sir John Houghton and Sir Richard Feachem, Director of the Global Health Group at UCSF Global Health Sciences. Feachem, who is also Professor of Global Health at both the University of California, San Francisco and University of California, Berkeley commented "Sure Chill technology has the potential to have a major impact on child health worldwide."
In addition to its work in the medical sector, The Sure Chill Company is establishing its revolutionary cooling technology in other areas, having received particular interest from the food and beverage and domestic sectors. Sure Chill technology offers unrivalled cooling capability; particularly where power suppliers are poor, intermittent or non-existent.