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Invisible, edible barcodes for medications

WuXi PharmaTech aims to use covert security platform to address global counterfeiting.

WuXi PharmaTech, a pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device R&D services and outsourcing company with operations in China and the U.S., and TruTag Technologies, Inc., developer of an edible, covert security platform that addresses the global product counterfeiting, recently announced that WuXi Corporate Venture Fund has invested in TruTag.

A press release announcing the partnership says, “This is the first time a global pharmaceutical has made the move to putting invisible, edible barcodes on medication. “
The companies will explore collaborations to offer WuXi’s global customers TruTag on-dose authentication to help prevent counterfeiting and enhance drug safety.
TruTag microtags (“TruTags®”) are inert, edible, and can integrate into the fabric of a product without packaging or labels—much like fingerprints on a human being—for the authentication of food, drugs, electronics, consumer products, and industrial components.

The companies say that millions of optical patterns can be embedded into a TruTag, a dust-sized particle smaller than the width of a human hair. Using this technology, brand owners, including pharmaceutical companies, will be able to field-read finished tablets circulating in the wholesale and retail market to determine the authenticity and provenance of medicines, including detailed information such as site and date of manufacture, lots, and other critical data.

"WuXi is pleased to invest in this cutting-edge technology and to explore its further development to enhance patient safety and protect our customers’ intellectual property,” says Dr. Ge Li, Chairman and CEO of WuXi PharmaTech. 

The company provides pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies with an integrated portfolio of laboratory and manufacturing services throughout the drug and medical device R&D process. Its services are designed to help shorten the cycle and lower the cost of drug and medical device R&D. The operating subsidiaries of WuXi PharmaTech are known as WuXi AppTec.

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