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Pfizer Invests in SupplyScape

The pharma giant, one of SupplyScape's key customers, joins other companies in supporting the developer of RFID-enabled pharmaceutical network applications.
By Jonathan Collins
May 17, 2006SupplyScape, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of RFID applications designed to combat product counterfeiting and diversion, has attracted investment from Pfizer, one of SupplyScape's key customers.

In the course of completing a Series B round of financing—which raised $8 million—SupplyScape brought in Pfizer Strategic Investments Group (PSIG), the pharma giant's investment arm. The drugmaker is using SupplyScape's RxAuthentication network application in the RFID-tagging and tracing of bulk containers of Viagra through the supply chain (see Pfizer Using RFID to Fight Fake Viagra).

Shabbir Dahod
While Pfizer isn't its largest customer, SupplyScape says the drugmaker is still an important funding source. "Having Pfizer as an investor is a big value to us," says the application developer's president, Shabbir Dahod. "A strategic alliance at the highest level is going to be critical in working together and defining higher-level applications."

PSIG declined to comment on its investment in SupplyScape, or to disclose the value of Pfizer's stake in the company. The firm invests in companies developing or marketing technologies, products or services with the potential to advance Pfizer's interests and dramatically change the dynamics involved in commercializing pharmaceutical products. While its primary objectives are strategic in nature, it cites potentially strong financial returns as another key selection criteria. Other companies PSIG has funded include health-care and benefits payments firm Evolution Benefits, disease-modeling software creator Entelos and superDimension, developer of a new bronchoscopic tool.

SupplyScape's security network offering, built upon the EPCglobal Network model, aims to provide a subscription service for companies involved in the distribution of drugs in the open supply chain. Using the RxAuthentication network application, Pfizer can share data on each RFID-tagged container with wholesalers, distributors and pharmacies. The drugmaker uploads information about the containers, which move through the supply chain as their RFID tags are read at key points. The location data is then uploaded to the network.

SupplyScape's other Series B investors consisted of Bethesda Partners, as well as existing investors IDG Ventures, North Bridge Venture Partners and Pilot House Ventures. The company says it will use the money to expand its core E-Pedigree and RxAuthentication offerings through the addition of applications for business transactions, including product recalls and chargebacks.
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