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article imageBlockchain-powered supply chain tracker

By Tim Sandle     Aug 11, 2017 in Business
Keeping control of the supply chain is key for customer satisfaction and to control goods; for pharmaceuticals it is also a regulatory requirement. To product medicines a new high-tech sensor has been developed.
The new development in supply chain management comes from Ambrosus, which has put in place a blockchain-based ecosystem for the supply chain. Ambrosus has announced it will work with the pharmaceutical company Trek Therapeutics, PBC to apply integrated sensors twined with blockchain-based technology. The aim is to offer pharmaceutical drug manufacturing to Trek’s clinical development program.
With pharmaceuticals the supply chain is the link between the laboratory and the marketplace and most are highly complex arrangements. The problem is, according to PwC most pharmaceutical supply chains are "under-utilised, inefficient and ill-equipped to cope with the sort of products coming down the pipeline." Key challenges include coordination; inventory management; issues with demand information; avoiding product expiration; warehouse management and so on.
To gain control many pharmaceutical companies are investing in new technologies and the Ambrosus solution is an example of a good fit. The approach combines high-tech sensors, blockchain, and powered by smart contracts. This sophisticated tracking approach helps to ensure the quality, safety, and origins of critical medicinal products. This is achieved through continuously monitoring the location and status of goods in real-time. The sensors assess and monitor in real-time the physical attributes of a product and its surroundings. Batches can be given unique ID, together with smart tagging and anti-tampering mechanisms. The blockchain component (built with Ethereum) allows for immediate financial settlement and optional dynamic pricing during the drug distribution process.
With the new example of twinning technological trackers with medicine shipping, Trek Therapeutics, which develops treatments for serious infections, has an added degree of assurance that its products are held at the right temperatures and have not been tampered with (counterfeit drugs is a serious concern at present with bodies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration).
With the new project, Ambrosus has developed a protocol to verify and track the entire manufacturing chain of Trek, from the primary chemical starting materials through multiple steps of synthesis, purification, and verification of the active pharmaceutical ingredients; followed by formulation of the actives into the final drug product. Following this there is the assessment and digital monitoring of the packaging, labeling, storage steps; plus shipping to clinical trial sites.
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