GERMANY – German packaging supplier Gerresheimer has partnered with pharmaceutical company Merck to develop a digital twin solution to further ensure traceability and trust in the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Under the partnership, the two companies have developed a Proof of Concept (PoC) to provide primary packaging with a unique ID to access its own trustworthy digital twin.

The PoC aims to transform the pharmaceutical supply chain by creating digital twins for primary packaging.

The automated process will result in full traceability and digital trust, resulting in cost savings, improved quality and even new business models through a single interconnected network.

Gerresheimer digitalization and new business models Vice President Daniel Diezi said: “We are convinced that our primary packaging will become the key to enable supply networks across organizations and lead to faster process operations and data-informed decision making.”

Gerresheimer said that by using the jointly created solution, the physical primary packaging for Gerresheimer is given a dependable ‘key’ that grants access to its digital twin.

The primary packaging which includes syringe and vial are connected to their individual ID to travel across the whole supply chain, from production to the point of care, linking and gathering data.

They turn into the key to unblocking data from multiple digital ecosystems, enabling more effective communication between diverse supply network firms.

According to Gerresheimer, the innovative approach enables physical objects to be securely anchored in the digital world using a blockchain-based platform and multi-patent authentication technologies created by Merck.

When combined with Industry 4.0 standards, the process becomes more trustworthy and dependable.

The joint PoC between Gerresheimer and Merck includes a smartphone app, real syringes with a secure unique ID, and access to Merck’s digital platform.

Authorized stakeholders, such as brand owners (holders of marketing authorizations) and quality assurance officers of the company, can access the smartphone app.

In addition, the authorized user can access services like quality data on demand, root-cause analysis data, and customer complaint handling after authenticating the syringe and reading the unique ID.

In August this year, Gerresheimer announced an investment of up to US$94 million to increase its manufacturing, supply and logistics capability for glass vials in the US.

The expansion project will involve Gerresheimer adding vial forming lines to its facility in Morganton, North Carolina.

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