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27 September, 2006 - 10:54 By Staff Reporter

Smart solution to vaccines crisis

A ‘smart’ label capable of telling whether products have suffered accidental freezing during transportation could help in the fight to save the millions of vaccines ruined during the cold chain process every year.Hitchin-based Timestrip’s new label, iStrip, was developed in response to demand from the pharmaceutical industry and is designed to be mass-produced at low cost and to be fully integrated into the packaging of products such as vaccines, protein based pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs and fertilizer.

Accidental freezing of Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis and Hepatitis B vaccines, and combination vaccines, can compromise their immunological potency.

Recent studies in the UK, North America, Pakistan, Malaysia, Hungary, Mongolia and other countries have found widespread freezing at many levels of the vaccine distribution system, commonly known as the cold chain.

The high incidence of this problem and the resulting health risks have made the monitoring and elimination of accidental freezing a priority for organisations such as WHO, UNICEF and PATH.

The patent pending label is suitable for use in a number of other pharmaceutical sectors as well as the food and farming industry, indicating to customers whether their goods have been accidentally frozen during transport or storage.

Paul Freedman, joint CEO of Timestrip, said: “Current indicators cost up to $3.50 (£1.84) per item and can only be used at case or pallet level. iStrip will be marketed at a fraction of this cost, making it a cost effective option at an individual product level.

“We believe that the cost-benefit attractions of the technology make it a potential candidate for adoption as a stipulated feature on vaccines. We are currently in discussions with manufacturers, distributors and global health organisations and are targeting initial revenues towards the end of 2007.”

The latest application of Timestrip’s smart label technology will provide a further boost for the growing company following a major contract win to fit its three-day smart label as standard on Nestle’s Maggi brand of ready to use sauces.

Timestrip’s interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2006 showed a 329 per cent increase in sales to £219k over the same period the previous year (£50k). Despite an increase in pre tax loss to £539k (2005: £409k loss), with the release of iStrip and significant advances with other products, Timestrip is highly optimisitic about the future.

Freedman added: “We remain confident in our ability to evolve a revenue model that combines sales from in-house manufacturing with royalty revenues and raw material sales derived from manufacturing licenses.

“We are making significant progress in bringing our patented label technology to a diverse range of mass markets. We have now established a core product range that is being sold into multiple markets in Europe and North America with very promising early signs of success.

“We continue to encourage customer funded Joint Development Projects, some of which have already resulted in supply contracts, and others which have the potential to generate significant revenues in the medium term.”

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