Community Innovators: M. Shane Bivens
Fishers resident M. Shane Bivens is passionate about doing good. With his entrepreneurial mindset and love for technology, he channeled his passion to create unique products to help underserved areas of the world.
In 2018, he joined forces with Stuart Lowry to form ChefsFridge Co. and worked on creating an asynchronous meal-sharing platform along with exact temperature-controlled kiosks to provide a 365/24/7 neighborhood-focused food sharing platform.
However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they pivoted from a food to a healthcare focus to assist with the global vaccination effort. They developed the ArcticRx product—an ultra-low temperature pod used to transport and store vaccines.
When the COVID-19 vaccines began rolling out, gaps were identified in the cold chain for transporting and storing vaccines. The cold chain is a low temperature-controlled supply chain consisting of climate-controlled warehouses, cold storage, and freezers. The chain helps to maintain the quality and safety of perishable products until they reach the consumer. If not handled carefully, the chain can be broken, and products can become altered. The mRNA vaccines used for COVID-19 require stable, ultra-low temperatures—something ArcticRx is poised to provide.
“Right now, there are often 12 different carriers who touch food and medicine products traveling through the cold chain,” explains Bivens. “Since these carriers are continuously opening and moving the products to different types of boxes, there are many opportunities for the cold chain to be broken. Even a slight delay in transportation leads to large amounts of waste, with our competition’s coolers only lasting three to five days. The ArcticRx pod can carry a significant amount of product, fit through international doorways, and can be opened without breaking the cold chain.”
ArcticRx is the first of its kind to support a two-dose vaccine delivery regimen specifically targeting rural, remote, and international areas in support of global equitable access. It doesn’t require electricity or a battery, and can maintain a temperature of -80 or -20 Celsius for 22 days, which is seven times longer than anything else on the market. It’s also sustainable, with plastic and wooden versions that can be recycled or reused, as opposed to Styrofoam packaging commonly used on the market.
“Almost everything we bought at Home Depot,” said Bivens. “The pieces to build this aren’t unique, but it’s the way we stuck them together that’s totally new.”
Bivens and his co-founder Lowry describe ArcticRx as “vaccine equity in a box.”
“COVID has really highlighted the issue of health equity,” said Bivens. “17% of low-income countries have received one dose of vaccine. 50% waste, mostly due to delays and equipment issues, is an accepted norm that we want to change. We might not be able to fix that problem today, but this is a glaring issue that can’t be solved by just sending massive amounts of vaccines, because there is nowhere to store it with these ultra-low temperatures. Sending refrigerators doesn’t help either, as they require massive amounts of electricity to run. ArcticRx provides a unique solution to this issue.”
It’s only the beginning for ArcticRx. They just landed their first lead investor and are currently working on getting third-party validated. ArcticRx has found their home at the Indiana IoT Lab in Fishers, surrounded by other passionate entrepreneurs using technology to address the issues of today’s world.
Learn more about ArcticRx at ArcticRx.com.
Stephanie Perry is the Assistant Director of Public Relations of the City of Fishers. Born and raised in Fishers, Stephanie graduated from HSE in 2006 and is now raising her kids in her childhood home in West Fishers, which she purchased from her parents when they moved. She loves supporting the local small business community, running on Fishers’ trails, and spending time at Conner Prairie with her family (Headless Horsemen and A Merry Prairie Holiday are family favorites!). Stephanie and her husband enjoy getting outdoors and spending time camping, hiking, and boating. Stephanie has enjoyed watching her city grow over the past few decades and loves the assets and amenities that the community provides, from the parks and special events to the array of restaurants and shops.