Pharmaceutical Cold Box with Central Ice or Cold Pack Chamber

Technology #17500

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Professor Daniel Frey
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
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Prithiviraj Sundararaman
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
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Ben Rockney
MIT Technology Licensing Officer
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Pharmaceutical Cold Box with Central Ice or Cold Pack Chamber

US Patent Pending US 2017-0056290

Pharmaceutical Cold Box with Central Ice or Cold Pack Chamber

PCT Patent Application WO 2017-034786


Applications for this technology are found in the storage and transportation of pharmaceuticals, i.e., vaccines.

Problem Addressed

Pharmaceutical substances must be kept under strict temperature control in order to prevent any negative effects that can occur when they are exposed to temperatures above or below the recommended range. Vaccines, especially, lose potency when exposed to temperatures above or below the temperature range of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. WHO and UNICEF estimate vaccine waste rates of 80% in developing nations - a significant portion of which is due to compromises in proper temperature control. In 2010, freeze sensitive vaccines made up 50% of the $749 million USD spent by UNICEF. Despite the importance of proper temperature control of vaccines, the current pharmaceutical cold box technology provides sub-optimal temperature control. There is an urgent need to improve vaccine storage and transport through temperature control.  


This invention presents a novel pharmaceutical cold box that can maintain the potency and integrity of vaccines and other pharmaceutical substances through effective temperature control within the recommended ranges. Specifically, this invention serves this purpose without the harmful exposure to extreme temperatures, especially at or below the substance's freezing point. The location of the coolant material is reconfigured to prevent the freezing of vaccines in the cooler. Vaccines surround the ice or cold packs, thus reducing the risk of exposure to temperatures outside the recommended range. 


  • Significant reduction of vaccine waste due to improper temperature control during storage and transport
  • Reduction of coolant material required
  • More space available for the transport of vaccines
  • Reduces overall transportation cost per drug dose