Kathleen Callender and Heather Callender-Potters, founders of PharmaJet, Inc. (proprietary needle-free jet injection technology used to deliver vaccines) were this week named to The Tech Awards Laureates 2010, as one of 15 global innovators recognized each year for applying technology to benefit humanity and spark global change. The Tech Awards, a signature program of The Tech Museum, and presented by Applied Materials, Inc., selected them from among hundreds of nominations representing more than 50 countries.
About the Tech Awards
Technology Benefiting Humanity is one of the premier annual humanitarian awards programs in the world, recognizing technical solutions that address the most critical issues facing our planet and its people. The awards program honors 15 scientists and innovators annually alongside the recipient of the Global Humanitarian Award, which will be presented this year to Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan. Laureates are selected by a prestigious panel of international judges organized by the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University, and made up of Santa Clara University faculty as well as leaders from educational and research institutions, industry and the public sector around the world.
Established in 2000, The Tech Awards recognizes 15 laureates, three in each of five universal categories: education, equality, environment, economic development and health. These laureates have developed new technological solutions or innovative ways to use existing technologies to significantly improve the lives of people around the world. This year, the laureate list represents the truly global vision of the program, including individuals from Brazil, Bangladesh, the Philippines and the San Francisco Bay Area. The laureates work impacts people in many more countries worldwide. One laureate in each category will receive a $50,000 cash prize during the annual Awards Gala in Santa Clara, California on November 6.
About the founders
With her hands-on healthcare and practice management background, Ms. Callender has participated in medical group missions work in the developing world, which is where she witnessed first-hand the profound problems of needle re-use and needle-stick injuries. A dirty needle can transmit up to 20 blood borne pathogens, most commonly HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. There are an estimated 22 million needle-stick injuries world-wide per year; and the WHO estimates that up to 40-70% of needles are re-used in some countries. PharmaJet’s technology has been propelled by Kathy’s passion to make a difference in global world health by increasing the vaccination of the worlds children while at the same time limiting the source of needle re-use related diseases that plague the developing world and negatively impact the livelihood of so many individuals, their families and communities.
A private equity fund manager and active angel investor, Ms. Callender-Potters is also passionate about the advancement of technologies that can create a paradigm shift in thinking and application. Heather spent 19 years investing in early stage businesses in Central and Eastern European countries, helping to introduce novel technologies that can flourish and contribute to the health of emerging economies. She has worked to advance PharmaJet’s collaborations that will have a great impact on both the developed and the developing world. In particular, her focus has been on the company’s intra-dermal injection technology that has the ability to positively impact the body’s immune response several fold versus standard depth of injection used by traditional needle-syringe.
“We are extremely honored to be among the Tech Awards recipients, and are so pleased that the award festivities and community of contributors will allow us a unique avenue for further advancing our dream to make a positive change in world health,” said Heather Callender-Potters, Chairman of PharmaJet. Kathleen Callender added, “each time I find a kindred spirit who shares my passion for making a difference, especially for the young children of the developing world, I am inspired to work harder toward my goal of contributing to world health. Being included in the Tech Awards organization is not only rewarding, but constitutes an obligation for me to continue my efforts toward having PharmaJet’s needle-free technology widely used as a solution to improve the overall well being of people worldwide.”
About PharmaJet, Inc. and needle-free injections
PharmaJet’s needle-free technology (pharmajet.com) delivers vaccines to intra-muscular, subcutaneous, and intra-dermal tissue depths. For some vaccines, intra-dermal delivery has the potential to reduce the amount of vaccine required, in some cases by as much as 80%, leading to cost savings and expanded coverage for vaccines in limited supply. Previous generations of jet injectors delivered billions of doses of vaccines over the last 60 years, but they had undesirable features, such as pain, cross-contamination among patients, low durability, and the ability for disposable components to be re-used. Newer devices, like PharmaJet's system, have been well received in the developed world, but are also more appropriate for the developing world because of their usability, affordability, and improved safety features (by design, PharmaJet’s “needle-free” syringe cannot be reused).
Needle-free jet injection also has the potential to improve safety by eliminating needles from the process of administering vaccines, and eliminating sharps (used metal needle’s) from the environment. “Jet” injectors use pressure to create a fine stream of liquid that penetrates the skin, delivering doses of medications and vaccines while reducing the burden of hazardous waste management. The potential benefits of jet injectors include more consistent delivery, reduced vaccine wastage, elimination of the need to transport large volumes of sharps, and reduction of the risk of needle sticks and of the costs associated with sharps waste.