Sepha joins Aquatest project


Will supply form, seal and leak test blisterpacks containing active ingredients

Sepha, a UK-based deblistering and leak testing specialist, has won a contract to supply a project led by the University of Bristol and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Aquatest project involves the production of a simple, hand-held water-testing device. The initial contract will see Sepha form, seal and leak test 50,000 blister packs containing Aquatest\'s active ingredients. The company will use its EZ Blister II and Blisterscan blister packing and leak testing machines in a newly built \'clean lab\' at its Dundonald, Belfast headquarters.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded the University of Bristol a US$13m grant to develop Aquatest.

Sepha chief executive John Haran said: ‘We are delighted that our leading leak testing and blister packing technologies have been chosen to ensure that this very significant and high profile project achieves maximum success. The capital investment in additional facilities and the creation of additional employment for a laboratory technician will enable us actively to exploit this niche with other companies who are looking for a solution to high-quality, short-run blister packaging, and integrity testing.’

Under the terms of the grant, the University of Bristol has set up an international multi-disciplinary consortium involving various sub-grantees and sub-contracted participants, including the Aquaya Institute, the Health Protection Agency, Path, the University of Cape Town, the University of North Carolina, the University of Southampton and the University of Surrey.

Thom Brain, Aquatest project manager based at the University of Bristol, said: ‘Sepha’s expertise and engagement with the project have ensured that we are able to develop a bespoke pack with all the special features that are required for it to perform effectively within the device. Sepha’s technical know-how and project management have also meant we have been able to move the project swiftly forward.’

Aquatest is capable of giving a reliable reading of water quality by detecting levels of e-coli present. It is expected to form part of a global fight against water borne disease, which is one of the most serious threats to child health in developing countries.

The first batch of devices should be distributed globally in late 2011 to NGO’s, aid agencies and governments in developing countries.