Refrigerators are a critical component of modern healthcare, maintaining drugs and vaccines at proper temperatures, but their importance is often overlooked until a failure happens. Traditional compressor-based refrigerators can break down at any time and even before that they can be loud and imperfect at temperature management. Phononic, a company based in Durham, North Carolina, has been perfecting compressor-free refrigeration that has several advantages over existing technology. We spoke with Jerilin Kenney, Director, Laboratory & Clinical Cold Products at Phononic, about the new technology and the products based on it that her company is now offering to hospital and clinics.
Medgadget: Can you tell us, please, about your new medical compressor-free refrigeration product, Evolve, and how you hope it will change the healthcare industry?
Jerilin Kenney, Phononic: Evolve is a line of medical-grade refrigerators designed to meet the stringent temperature control requirements of drug and vaccine storage. Inherent in its design, Evolve’s compressor-free refrigeration system overcomes many of the tradeoffs of traditional refrigerators. For example, the chamber temperature is designed to not drop below 2℃ anywhere in the chamber, which eliminates any risk of freezing vaccines. In addition, it offers 25% more storage capacity than any of its closest competitors and is the quietest product available on the market. As an added bonus, firmware on Evolve products can be upgraded to incorporate a local and remote temperature monitoring systems providing both air control and an independent glycol temperature reading. This upgrade provides continuous peace of mind that products are stored at the right temperatures no matter who’s watching over them.
Medgadget: What is the technology behind the Evolve? What are the indications? (i.e. storage of vaccines, blood, etc)
Kenney: Powered by the SilverCore™ Refrigeration System, Evolve is designed using a compressor-free, proprietary solid-state sustainable approach that offers 1°C chamber uniformity, meets and exceeds CDC vaccine storage guidelines, operates whisper quietly and select models can run on battery backup power when needed. It is ideal for storing FDA approved vaccines, drugs and medical devices as well as any investigational drugs that can benefit from an exceptionally tight temperature stability of <0.5°C in any storage location in the chamber.
Evolve also meets cleanroom standards and can be installed in a compounding pharmacy cleanroom to meet USP <797> and USP <800> requirements. Additionally, Evolve’s embedded connectivity allows users to monitor the unit’s temperature performance in real-time. It offers programmable alerts with audible and visual alarms that allow for complete system control using the embedded Wi-Fi functionality.
Medgadget: What are the acquisition and maintenance costs of Evolve vs standard compressor-based refrigerators?
Kenney: The acquisition costs for Evolve are directly in line with industry leading medical-grade refrigerators. In terms of maintenance costs, Evolve products are generally maintenance free.
Medgadget: What models are available for purchase in US, Europe, elsewhere?
Kenney: Evolve 1.8 and Evolve 5.5 are both approved for product safety in the US, Canada and Europe. The products are currently available for sale through channel partners throughout the US and Canada.
Medgadget: Phononic is a very interesting startup. Can you tell us more about the company and its history? What are your plans for the future?
Kenney: Founded in 2009 with support from Silicon Valley venture capital investors, Phononic was launched with a bold and provocative investment thesis – innovate and commercialize disruptive solid state semiconductor cooling and heating solutions in a similar way to how solid state technologies have disrupted IT, communications, solar power and LED lighting. For decades incumbent compressors, heat sinks and fans have provided the bulk of cooling and heating solutions despite a host of deficiencies. Through advanced semiconductor materials and manufacturing processes vertically integrated with thermal and electronic controls systems, Phononic delivers turn-key solutions to customers ranging from fiberoptics and data servers to healthcare, residential and commercial refrigeration. Our products are sustainable, energy efficient and convenient for our customers to adopt and use, realizing unprecedented performance not thought possible from a semiconductor driven solution. We believe our approach will not only displace incumbent legacy cooling and heating solutions, but provoke thought leadership and partnerships to grow overall cooling and heating opportunities not thought possible or just not thought of at all!
Link: Evolve refrigerators…