TraceLink Bags $ 93M, Plans A.I. Blockchain tools for drug monitoring

Xconomy
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The first step for TraceLink, a software maker who helps track the supply chain of pharmaceuticals, was recruiting hundreds of thousands of companies and organizations onto its digital platform.

Now, just like the gaming books of social media companies and other technology companies, the second step will be the development of "new applications on top of that infrastructure", leveraging "the information and the network we have built to generate an even greater value for our customers, "says TraceLink CEO Shabbir Dahod.

A new infusion of money could help the company in this effort. Tuesday, the MA-based North Reading company announced that it has closed a $ 93 million round of financing led by Georgian Partners, a next-stage investor based in Canada. Georgian was joined by new investors from TraceLink Vulcan Capital and Willett Advisors, as well as previous supporters FirstMark Capital, Volition Capital, F-Prime Capital Partners and Goldman Sachs, according to a press release.

The $ 93 million investment includes $ 60 million that was revealed in a June document filed with the SEC. TraceLink claims to have raised a total of $ 167 million from investors to date.

The 500-person company sells cloud-based software that enables pharmaceutical companies to perform various authentication and monitoring activities for the drugs they work with. This includes compliance with regulatory compliance standards, storing a huge amount of data created by monitoring individual drug packages and interacting with other companies using TraceLink (such as vendors coordinating with distributors).

As reported by Xconomy, the nine-year-old company aims not only to allow customers to track large amounts of data, but its software is also designed to allow them to exchange data on the platform, almost like a social network. The software features of TraceLink include immediate notification to all organizations in the network in case of drug recall. Organizations can then use the company's inventory tracking features to understand where the product is, says Dahod.

TraceLink software is currently monitoring about 1 billion pharmaceutical products, says Dahod. Its network connects more than 270,000 pharmaceutical companies, contract manufacturers, wholesale distributors, hospitals, pharmacies and other organizations worldwide. The company has more than 950 customers as customers, says Dahod. He refused to share the company's revenues, but states that they are growing rapidly.

Future product ideas of the company include the development of machine learning applications for customers to crunch the large amount of data from the supply chain that they are accumulating, in order to say, we better manage the inventory of drugs and we predict the shortcomings, says Dahod.

"All of this converges into a huge data store that we are now building," he says. "We want to exploit it with new technologies, such as machine learning, to have a better product integrity … and more predictable forecasts."

Another area of ​​interest to TraceLink is blockchains, the online general accounting systems that power cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. TraceLink is developing blockchain-based software to help the pharmaceutical industry meet certain traceability requirements in the US drug supply chain security law, Dahod says. He says the company will publish more details about the project by the end of the year.

There is a lot of hype around the blockchain, but not many products have an impact. However, TraceLink is not the only one to try to apply emerging technology to the supply chain. IBM and Maersk, the European transport and logistics company, have set up a joint venture that deals with blockchain software for supply chains. Meanwhile, Walmart and many other brands are starting to use IBM software to track food supply.

Dahod states that TraceLink customers have "curiosity" and "early interest" in blockchain systems for the pharmaceutical supply chain. "We believe we have a very practical approach to a solution that is more in line with the value proposition offered by blockchains," he adds.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor of Xconomy. Email: [email protected] Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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