Inside INdiana Business

Vaccine freezer wins top prize at pitch competition

(photo courtesy of ChefsFridge)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — An Anderson-based startup that developed an ultra-cold system to protect vaccines during lengthy trips has won first place at the 2021 Crossroads Pitch Competition hosted by Bloomington-based business incubator The Mill. The founders of ArcticRx will receive $10,000 in cash, plus a package of startup and business services.

Co-founders Shane Bivens and Stuart Lowry say the freezer pod can maintain stable, ultra-low temperatures (-106 degrees Fahrenheit) for three weeks using dry ice. The team from ChefsFridge developed it in partnership with engineers from Indianapolis-based Rolls-Royce North America.

They say their device solves a critical problem in transporting vaccines to remote and rural areas, like in Africa.

“Fifty percent of vaccine waste is rooted in cold-chain storage and transportation,” said Bivens, during the pitch competition.

He says less than 2.5% of low-income countries have received a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine due to the logistics challenge.

Beyond COVID-19, ArcticRx has applications for shipping other pharma as well as food, such as seafood or produce, that require stable ultra-low temperature.

Having won first place at The Mill’s pitch competition, ArcticRx now receives a “priority consideration” to pitch for an additional $20,000 at Elevate Ventures’ Nexus Pitch Competition in the pre-seed category.

“We were thrilled with diversity of applicants and judges for Crossroads 2021,” said Andy Lehman, head of accelerator programming for The Mill. “ArcticRx blew us away, and they faced tough competition. We expect to see many successes emerge from this year’s Crossroads.”

The Mill says a panel of over 30 entrepreneurs, investors, and business experts selected four finalists, which includes, GittaSitta and AeonCharge.

Watch the winning pitch from ArcticRx by clicking here.