‘Immense contribution of Health Ministry to develop country’s vaccine cold chain’

Lisaline Lifescience Technologies was one of the earliest introducers of Vaccine Vial Monitors (VVM) in India, when VVMs became part of the nation wide polio eradication programme. Ajit Tamhane, Director, LisaLine Lifescience Technologies tells Usha Sharma that today there is a serious need to extend the same cold chain monitoring technologies to private distribution of vaccines covering the entire cold chain

Could you tell us about the genesis of your company, Lisaline Lifescience Technologies?

Ajit Tamhane

In 1997, the introduction of Vaccine Vial Monitors (VVMs) to the Polio Eradication programme led us to start a company for bringing innovations in cold chain management. Since then Lisaline is focussed on providing products and services for effective cold chain management. Today, Lisaline offers a wide range of technologies for monitoring and maintaining the cold chain. The product range is broadly categorised into the following sections: active cooling systems, passive cooling systems, and under cold chain monitoring technologies. We offer product, facility, shipment and transport monitoring technologies.

Lisaline provides customised cold chain management solutions for the pharmaceutical sector including vaccines and biologicals. Lisaline also serves hospitals, laboratories, research, logistics and the food sector.

Which technologies have been developed for the cold chain management and why are they crucial for the pharma sector?

Monitoring of cold chain being very critical for management, Lisaline has successfully introduced cold chain monitoring technologies for pharma and food cold chain management. The Cobalt wireless real time datalogging system from Oceasoft France is a established technology for facilities and equipment monitoring. Cobalt enables supply chain team to centrally monitor temperature, humidity of all their storage location with active alert management.

New Mobile app and KOOL LINE web portal enables our customers to view the real time data on mobile, ipad, tablets as well as using web browser from anywhere. In addition EMERALD Bluetooth enabled dataloggers are new and effective tools for shipment and transport monitoring. One can now read Emerald data using a smartphone anywhere and data is uploaded to the cloud for accessing from any location.

Last year Lisaline moved to their new facility and commenced the new KOOL LINE cold chain management services. We offer In Lab Sensor calibration as per ISO standards, as well as on site sensor calibration and mapping services. We also offer KOOL LINE multiple site real time datalogging services for multiple location monitoring and temperature indicator customisation.

Which technologies are in the pipeline and when are they expected to hit the market?

New wireless systems using Ultra Narrow Band (UNB) technology for connectivity to dataloggers are being developed for facility monitoring. Our Principals Oceasoft have launched new dataloggers in France which can be integrated with SIGFOX UNB connectivity. This is going to change the wireless coverage from 500 metres to 15 kms. These devices are expected to hit the market in early 2016.

For product monitoring, the Cumulative Time Temperature Indicators (TTI) commonly known as VVMs are the most effective devices to monitor temperature exposure of single unit (vial, prefill syringe or ampoule) throughout the shelf life. The new development is focussed on combination indicators. These new indicators can change colour with cumulative exposure till specific temperature limit (40°c). Above the limit, the colour will change immediately.

Miniature freeze indicators which can be adhered to single unit vial are also under development.

The rise of vaccine manufacturers in emerging markets has given a boost to cold chain management providers. How it has helped to boost your business?

India is a leading provider of vaccines to the world. The growth of our vaccine industry has surely helped us with increased usage of cold chain management technologies. Today, every vaccine manufacturer is using HEATmarker VVM technology for their vaccines. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to serve all vaccine companies in the region for more than a decade.

I wish to stress here that Ministry of Health, Government of India has immense contribution in developing the vaccine cold chain in the country. The commitment and involvement of government in improving cold chain in government distribution is remarkable. Government immunisation programmes have ensured that every vaccine used is monitored from manufacturing till point of immunisation by using VVM and other cold chain management technologies. But currently such effective tools are not used in private distribution of vaccines. There is a serious need to extend the same cold chain monitoring technologies to private distribution of vaccines covering the entire cold chain.

The government is planning to implement the GST Bill in April 2015. What is your view?

The long awaited introduction of GST is being implemented soon. The GST model with two components (CGST and SCST) is going to bring uniformity in taxation across all the states. For companies like us having import, trading and services as major activities, alignment of taking and utilisation of credit for central CST and state GST will be advantageous. It is a milestone reform and the challenge will be its smooth implementation; for government and also tax payers.

How large is your international presence and which new markets do you plan to explore?

Lisaline has operations in India which cater to markets in India and South Asia. Our subsidiary in Dubai handles the cold chain business in the Middle East region. Lisaline will complete 10 years in the Middle East next year. Currently our total strength is 34 and we are now in process of expanding our sales and service team in India.

Could you give us some indication of your future plans?

Lisaline is focussed on cold chain management and will continue to grow in the same business. Our short-term plan is to develop KOOL LINE – real time online cold chain monitoring services. The KOOL LINE model is based on outsourcing datalogging of the entire cold supply chain. A pharma, food or logistics company can enter into a contract for KOOL LINE services and enjoy hassle free datalogging of all their storage sites and line, real time with alert management.

For the long term, we are planning manufacturing activities of cold chain products in India. We will also expand our calibration laboratory to cover more parameters. To create more awareness and a knowledge base for cold chain management in the country, we will always be happy to share our knowledge and participate in forums, and training courses on cold chai management.


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