The specialist deblistering and leak testing company Sepha has won a major new contract to supply an international consortium involved in a ground-breaking water testing project called Aquatest. The 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 innovative blister packing and leak testing machines, EZ Blister II and Blisterscan, in a newly constructed ‘clean lab’ at its Dundonald headquarters. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded the project leaders, the University of Bristol, a $13 million grant to develop Aquatest.
Commenting on the contract Sepha CEO, 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 to actively 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 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant, the University of Bristol has set up an international multidisciplinary consortium involving various sub-grantees and subcontracted 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, commented: “Sepha’s expertise and their 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 the global fight against water-borne disease – one of the most serious threats to child health in developing countries. The first batch of devices are expected to be distributed globally in late 2011 to NGOs, aid agencies and governments in developing countries where demand is high for an inexpensive, reliable, simple to use water-testing device.