"An optimist by nature, Ankit Jhanwar was not put off by the disinterest displayed by some packaging companies in developing a temperature-controlled shipping solution using phase change materials (PCMs)—a domain in which his company, Pluss Advanced Technologies, had been working since 2005. Such a temperature-controlled solution could prove very useful in cutting down the 30% wastage of vaccines in the existing cold chain system in the country. So what Pluss did was develop a complete shipping solution using its own proprietary PCMs, which could not only provide better temperature control but also address the challenging Indian ambient conditions of 40°C. “A range of products were planned to address the gaps at each leg of the supply chain right from manufacturer to the depot to the distributor to chemist and finally to the patient,” says Jhanwar.
The shipping solution that he developed was branded Celsure—which uses the PCM technology to provide precise temperature control. “It is the only shipping solution which provides temperature control for more than 72 hours even at ambient temperature of 40°C,” he says. Thanks to this innovation, all the current pharmaceutical shipments which happen by air can now be done by road using Celsure—something that can lead to huge savings in freight cost, thereby making it possible to lower the prices of medicines.
According to Jhanwar, Celsure also addresses the unique challenge of shipping from a hot environment (say, India) to a cold environment (like Europe) or vice versa. What’s more, the solution has brought in simplicity in the packaging, removing human errors. Jhanwar says that it’s available in sizes as small as one vial to as large as 10,000 vials and can provide temperature control for as low as 2 hours to as high as 120 hours. Pluss has a goal of reducing medicine wastage due to ineffective cold chain to as low as 0.1% in the next three-five years. The firm is constantly working on scaling up and commercializing the innovation. Celsure was launched in April 2016 with only one variant; eight more variants have been added within a year. Logistics firms such as Blue Dart and DHL have adopted Celsure as one of their preferred modes of shipping temperature-sensitive pharma products. Successful trials have also been run with various pharmaceutical firms. Besides commercializing it in India, Pluss plans to go global with the launch in Singapore and the Middle East in 2018 and in the US and Europe in 2019. “We are also keen on tie-ups with the government, World Health Organization (WHO), Unicef and other related organizations for last-mile delivery of vaccines. Customized products are being planned to address the last mile challenges,” says Jhanwar."