The pharma industry has been very receptive to our product

The pharma industry has been very receptive to our product

Bilcare Technologies and Applied DNA Sciences have developed integrated version of their technologies to ensure brand protection, anti-counterfeiting and logistic and provenance control. Dr Satya Sharma, Global President, Bilcare Technologies, reveals more to Sachin Jagdale

Give some details of your agreement with Applied DNA Sciences.

Applied DNA Sciences, Inc. and Bilcare Technologies have signed an agreement to jointly market an integrated version of their technologies to provide a unique multi-layered security for brand protection, anti-counterfeiting and logistic and provenance control. Both companies can now offer real time identification, authentication and verification of marked products, at the individual item level, in the field and forensic authentication of these items in the lab, providing a complete security solution. Individual items can now be authenticated in the field and if there is some concern, they can be returned for forensic analysis to provide evidence that will stand up in court.

What are the features of Bilcare Technologies’ nonClonableID™?

Bilcare Technologies’ nonClonableID™ system comprises a unique materials-based fingerprint of micro and nanoscale features. This fingerprint can be provided on a label or tag to confer a unique identity for an individual item that cannot be duplicated. This feature can be linked to a serial number and database for supply chain tracking applications, but also for authentication and e-pedigree records. The fingerprint is read with a proprietary handheld scanner that communicates to the secure central database via the internet using a mobile phone, PDA or personal computer.

The database provides a scalable and secure repository for maintaining track, trace and authentication data that can be analysed, reported and acted upon by brand owners and law enforcers.

Main features:

  • Unique materials-based fingerprints provide security against counterfeiting

  • Fingerprints can be integrated with overt serialization systems like barcodes, datamatrices, RFID tags, etc. and integrated with an existing supply chain infrastructure

  • Machine-readable fingerprints enable an objective and reliable authentication process

  • Real-time authentication through hand-held portable readers

  • Rapid, encrypted communication ensures that authentication occurs against an up-to-date setof data-enabling audit trails to be generated and appropriate information to be fed back in real-time

  • Stabilized, botanically derived DNA markers provide forensic-level authentication. Encryption ensures the markers can not be copied.

  • DNA-based evidence is accepted in courts globally as the “gold standard” of identity. In the event of suspicion about an individual item, DNA testing is recommended.

What is the technological contribution of Applied DNA Sciences in developing blended security system?

Applied DNA Sciences make use of DNA to provide a covert, forensic tool for authentication. These biochemical markers can be applied to both labels and to the objects themselves, in minute quantities, to a range of locations, and in a variety of physicochemical media. Based on the DNA approach used to convict criminals, this means of protecting genuine objects can provide evidence in a court of law that will enable brand owners and other stakeholders to seek criminal damages.

Was the Bilcare Technologies’ nonClonableID™ specifically developed to integrate with Applied DNA Sciences? Or it has individual applications as well?

No, both systems were developed to provide stand alone anti-counterfeiting and security solutions. However, it is widely accepted in the industry that multiple layers of security are required to provide a robust security solution. As such, the combination of our two solutions adds real value to the offering, particularly where brand owners need to replace their previous solutions or are embarking on a new brand protection initiative.

What are the most common drawbacks of today’s packaging system? How will integrated version of Applied DNA Sciences and Bilcare Technologies’ nonClonableID™ overcome these drawbacks?

In terms of packaging, one drawback is the ease at which packaging can be copied. This is because digital design and high resolution colour printing are widely available at relatively low cost. As such, packaging can now be quickly copied and passed off as the original even though it has been fabricated illegally by a counterfeiter.

Another issue is that of tamper-resistance. Packaging can be compromised so that genuine discarded, surplus or in-transit packaging can be refilled with fake products, either partially or completely. This means that fake products can enter the supply chain and appear to be the genuine article, fooling vendors and customers.

Our solution is able to securitize the packaging by providing tamper-evident closures, integrated markings in the genuine packaging and by protecting the items individually within the packaging.

Forensic scrutiny is the new concept that you have introduced. Doesn’t it make counterfeit detection process more time consuming and complex?

Forensic analysis is generally more time consuming, but it follows established processes that are acceptable in a court of law. Although identifying counterfeits in the field is the first line of defense for the consumer, it is also necessary to convict criminals to prevent the proliferation of fake products. Forensic results have been used widely to achieve this.

What is the biological source for you to develop this technology?

Our DNA markers are derived from botanical genomes.

Does the handling of this blended security system require any special operational expertise?

Developing the technology has required a lot of multi-disciplinary expertise, but the implementation and use is relatively simple for the brand owner. The nonClonableID element has been designed to enable an end user to authenticate in the field with little or no training. The forensic analysis requires skilled expertise in the laboratory, but the collection of the sample for the process is straight forward.

Which are the industries where your technology is useful?

It can be used in various sectors:

Government Sector – To safeguard government interests and promote healthy growth of e-Governance, maintaining identity security and document security is essential. We offer a comprehensive solution for Identity and Authentication and Document Security, and a NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) Management Solution for improved transparency and tighter controls in NREG Schemes

Pharmaceutical – The pharmaceutical industry is facing significant challenges in its ability to combat counterfeiting amidst the complexity of globally integrated supply chains. Pharmaceutical companies need to build intelligence into the supply chain to prevent breaches right from the point-of-origin to point-of-use. Our solution offers a comprehensive approach for brand protection and authentication of drugs with e-Pedigree and secure Track-n-Trace capabilities. Our solutions create transparency across the supply chain, providing insight and agility to manage risks and tackle issues of diversion and theft. It also ensures the proper dispensation of medication and compliance with dose regimen and can also enhance the positive outcome of clinical trials by verifying the authenticity of origin and pedigree in clinical trials.

Agrochemicals – Agrochemical counterfeiting is another serious global problem. Counterfeit products not only affect the agrochemical industry in terms of revenue loss but also cause crop damage, lower yields, and soil deterioration. Counterfeit products also imply legal consequences for the manufacturer as the onus lies on the genuine manufacturer to prove that the counterfeit material does not belong to him. Counterfeit products can enter the supply chain at many different points.  

To protect against the increasing threat of counterfeiting, manufacturers need to adopt a holistic approach and build intelligence into the supply chain to prevent breaches right from the point-of-origin to the point-of-use.

Automotive & Engineering – Counterfeiting is a major safety concern in the automotive industry, causing automotive companies to lose market share and causing damage to their brand reputation. Counterfeiters have exploited vulnerabilities in the supply chain to introduce fake parts in legitimate channels, while authentic components are being siphoned off for gray market sale. As a result, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier 1 & 2 suppliers need to maintain a high level of control in the supply chain to prevent counterfeit parts from entering the system.

Financial / Currency – The increase in counterfeiting of currency and financial documents poses a serious danger to economies and consumers. Considering the threat that counterfeiting has on the economy, governments of various nations have recognized the imperative need to combat it. As the volume of counterfeit currency notes in the system increases, there is a vital need for strengthening the security features and gaining assurance of authenticity. Current currency denominations and financial documents have covert security features (watermark, security thread, optically variable ink etc.) which require human intervention for detection and authentication. This leaves a window for human error. Feature checking requires either diverse equipment or continued awareness campaigns and knowledge retention by the masses to ascertain the presence/absence of features. Our solution offers a comprehensive approach to combat counterfeiting.

Art & Heritage – Theft, forgery and illicit trading of valuable antiquities, artworks and artefacts are a matter of increasing concern worldwide. To enhance the protection of heritage assets, there is a growing need to streamline the accountability processes and gain assurance of authenticity while tracking artefact movement. Bilcare has collaborated with the National Heritage Board (NHB), Singapore to provide an authentication and inventory solution for the protection of heritage assets.

Fashion & Luxury – Counterfeiting in the Fashion and Luxury industry causes huge losses, directly in terms of lost business and indirectly in terms of funding other criminal activity. The branded luxury goods and fashion industry is particularly hard-hit by this global menace. Unlike theft, counterfeiting not only cuts into sales but also erodes the image and brand of the company not to mention the consumer confidence.

Wines & Spirits – because fine wines and spirits are often relatively expensive and bottles can be easily fabricated or refilled to dupe the customer, it has become important to protect these items from counterfeiting. This is also because fine wines may not be drunk until well in the future, particularly investment grade wines, and because fake spirits can contain dangerous chemicals that can be safety risk to the consumer.

Do you need to make industry specific modifications in your product?

Yes, we customize brand protection solutions and their implementation based on the product or business need. Whether the client requires a solution for the entire supply chain or for selected elements, our consulting-led approach ensures that our client get the most advanced and relevant solutions for their specific requirements.

What is the cost involved in developing this product? How is your technology cost effective?

This varies from project to project, but the aim is always to use existing module where they exist. This approach reduces the lead time, the overall cost and ensures we are able to support the customer and their ‘bespoke’ solution in the future.

How is the response from the pharma industry to your product? Who are your clients from this category?

As is often the case in brand security, it is not always possible to talk about specific clients. However, the pharma industry has been very receptive. In India there are several companies implementing the solution to protect pharmaceutical and medical products.

What are the target countries to market this product?

We are marketing the product worldwide, but are focusing particularly on the US market, European market, and Asian market at present.

sachin.jagdale@expressindia.com