A report from packaging consultancy Pira notes that the company will start using IntroTech's TTIs in June 2004. The TTIs are being used to ensure the valves, from pig hearts, are not stored below 2 degrees Centigrade or above 25 degrees.
IntroTech is already widely known in the drug industry for its Coldmark and Warmmark TTIs, used to ascertain whether valuable pharmaceutical shipments have been kept at specified temperatures during shipping or storage. However, the challenge in the heart valve project was to develop the cold indicator technology further so it could cope with near-freezing temperatures.
At present, the cost of the indicators - at around €3.50 a unit - make them suitable only for high-value products such as pig heart valves, which cost 2,000-3,000 each, according to Pira. IntroTech is providing the pharmaceutical company with 50,000 cards.
Typical cards from IntroTech and other TTI suppliers such as 3M, Telatemp and Cox Technologies cost in the €0.60-€1.20 range.
Around 80 per cent of IntroTech's end-users are pharmaceutical companies using the TTIs for monitoring vaccines. IntroTech plans to use this existing business as leverage to supply these companies with TTIs for medicines and organs, said Pira.