BioLife Solutions, a supplier of bioproduction tools and services for the cell and gene therapies and broader biopharma markets, announced the launch of Ultraguard, a non-toxic, non-hazardous and non-flammable -70°C phase change material (PCM) for ultra-low temperature (ULT) protection. 

The two primary customer applications for use of Ultraguard include temperature holdover in cases where ULT freezers are without power for various reasons, and in benchtop biologic material storage as an alternative to dry ice, addressing any limitations or risks associated with supply, cost, or safety.  

“We are excited to provide more value to our life science customers through the risk mitigation benefits of Ultraguard,” says Todd Berard, chief marketing officer for BioLife Solutions. “From added ULT freezer backup temperature security to a potentially disruptive alternative to dry ice, we continue to innovate and look forward to enabling global access to Ultraguard as we explore potential customer use cases.”   

With the increase in more complex biologic storage and transport needs, ULT protection has become an essential tool needed for the life science industry. However, this type of storage remains challenging to maintain throughout the cold chain in the face of heightened weather events, electrical grid uncertainty, and possible black and brownouts. It can also be geographically limiting through grid power and dry ice availability. By combining ULT freezers with -70°C PCM, organizations now have an added option for “emergency backup” to protect against these uncertainties, according to the company.

The Ultraguard PCM form factor is an ergonomic-friendly plastic bottle or “brick” that is “charged” or conditioned from a liquid to a frozen solid state by freezing below -80°C to store up the necessary amount of cooling energy. Visual confirmation of charge completion is provided by a color change and once the brick has crystalized, it is ready to extend ultracold temperature times inside a ULT freezer cabinet.    

“As we partner with various top logistics providers, we will continue to explore the additional dry ice replacement scenarios as we see the addressable markets for Ultraguard will include the global installed base of ULT freezers as well as the global consumption of dry ice for biologic material storage and transport,” says Berard.

Featured image: Ultraguard -70°C Phase Change Material (PCM) being loaded into a Stirling Ultracold ULT25NEU portable freezer. Photo: BioLife