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Enabling cheap, convenient, and safe delivery of vaccines to places in the world that need it the most

Quick Facts

Enabling vaccines to be delivered and transported without refrigeration

Patents: [this section redacted]

Customers: Global health groups including World Health Organization; medical and vaccine suppliers

Financing Sought: $1.5 million

Use of funds: Lab equipment; materials; lab rental; marketing; manufacturing; hiring additional research scientists; legal

Contact: Ting-Ting Zhou,


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 26 million children are not immunized, exposing them to disabilities or premature death. Globally, 2.1 million people die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases. In 2008 alone, 1.7 million deaths for children under the age of 5 were attributed to vaccine preventable diseases. People living in hard-to-reach areas of the world struggle to receive immunization.

Nanoly’s technology enables the cheap, effective, and safe delivery of vaccines to anywhere in the world. 

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The Problem

Vaccines are heat-sensitive and must be kept refrigerated. The vaccine “cold chain” is the system of transporting and storing vaccines within the temperature range of 35°F (2°C) to 45°F (8°C).  If exposed to temperatures too high or too low, the vaccine will spoil or denature and become inactive. Injecting a spoiled vaccine reduces the potency and leaves the patient susceptible to the vaccine-preventable disease. This strict vaccine refrigeration requirement contributes to the 25% liquid vaccine wastage rate estimated by the WHO.  The wastage rate for 10-20 vaccine dose vials is even higher, at an astounding 50%. The process also hinders the delivery of vaccines to remote areas of the world where there is no electricity to operate refrigerators. Of the 26 million children in the world who are not vaccinated in the world, 68% live in countries with the weakest immunization structures caused by transportation difficulties. 

The World Health Organization summarizes the current vaccine supply chain in low to middle-income countries into 12 steps.

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Customers and Market Opportunity

The vaccine market is one of the fastest and most stable growing markets. Demand will always exist and in fact, in the past years, has continued to increase with the rise of new vaccines. Vaccine transportation costs have been identified as one of the largest expenses for our target customer comprising up to 90% of total vaccine delivery costs. Our product is specifically committed to lowering these large expenses because of NanoShield’s ability to eliminate the costly cold chain. 

  • $27 Billion: Global vaccine revenue in 2009 (quintupled since 2000)
  • 11.5% CAGR: Vaccine market will grow to $56 billion in 2016 making it one of the fastest-growing sectors
  • 90%: Percentage of total vaccine cost our target customers spend on vaccine delivery and transportation
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Customers Care About Our Solution

UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and countries with the lowest immunization rates all state improved immunization methods as a goal.  UNICEF stated that the vaccine “Cold Chain and Logistics systems are aging and often insufficient to accommodate the new vaccines.” The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal #4 is to reduce the under-five child mortality rate by two-thirds from 1990 to 2015.  In order to achieve this, the WHO and UNICEF established the “Global Immunization Vision and Strategy 2006-2015.” In WHO and UNICEF’s document, the organizations list 1) immunizing "hard to reach" infants and 2) increase the availability and affordability of new life-saving vaccines as top priorities.  NanoShield by Nanoly is the ideal replacement for the costly refrigerated cold chain.

Our Solution

Nanoly’s core product is a chemical solution called NanoShield. 

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Competitive Analysis

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Social Value

Because of the high costs of delivering vaccines, UNICEF estimates that an additional US$1 billion in financing is necessary every year to meet international goals of improving immunizations access and reducing child mortality in the poorest nations.  

Social Value Proposition
Nanoly will provide a vaccine storage solution in order to help reach those most in need and to reduce the wastage factor of vaccines.

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The Bottom Line
Low Cost: Decreased vaccine transportation and delivery cost to developing countries.
Effective: Increased immunization access in remote areas of the world.
Safe: Decreased vaccine spoilage and less inventory waste lead to a decreased carbon footprint.

Regulatory Hurdles

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Intellectual Property

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Funding to Exit

Our estimated dollar amount needed to fully develop our product and integrate it into the global vaccine supply chain is $1.5 million. We are confident that our technology would be of high interest to the following pharmaceutical companies who we believe will invest in our technology and help us achieve financial sustainability:

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2011 was one of the most successful years for healthcare M&A activity since 2001.  There has been an upward trend in pharmaceutical companies acquiring biosimilars. Biotechnology is identified as one of the highest M&A activity groups with a total of $32.7 billion in deals last year.  This upward trend indicates that pharmaceuticals are willing and possess the capital to invest in new technologies.

Management Team

 Ting-Ting Zhou

Duke University

 Nanxi Liu


UC Berkeley

 Crystal Lee


Stanford University

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Adviser Team


Dr. Gabor Somojai
Professor of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Michael Klotsman
Founder of Okava BioPharma Consulting
MBA from Duke

Dr. Cornelia Dekker
Medical Director of Stanford-LPCH Vaccine Program, Stanford's School of Medicin
Residency and fellowship at Duke University Medical School


Aaron Patzer
Founder of Mint Software
BSEE from Duke

Dr. Jennifer Walske
Director of Social Entrepreneurship, University of California, Berkeley

Dr. David Hutton
Principal at Hutton Associates

Eva Yazhari
Executive Director at Beyond Capital Fund

John Rodney
Partner at Thorp Reed & Armstrong, LLP
BA from Duke

Glen Caplan
Partner at Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, PA
JD from Duke

Use of Award Budget

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Total: $50,000

Starting March 21st, vote for us on the Duke Start-Up Challenge Facebook Page! And be sure to join us for the Grand Finale on April 20th at 7:30pm ET in Geneen Auditorium at the Fuqua School of Business, or live on Duke's Ustream Channel. RSVP for the event on Facebook