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T3Ci Aims to Help Fight Drug Counterfeiting

Developed in conjunction with one of the world's top drug companies, T3Ci's future services will rely on newly patented software mechanisms.
By Beth Bacheldor
"SupplyScape has a very simple system, authenticating at the point of sale or dispensation, that involves a manufacturer commissioning a specific RFID tag and attaching it to a specific package," Rieman says. "SupplyScape's documentation does not mention any other features."

T3Ci developed the technology detailed in its patent, Swan says, while working in tandem with one of the world's top-three pharmaceutical companies in terms of revenue. According to Swan. that firm has asked not to be identified. T3Ci worked closely with the company on the technology, and the two conducted a feasibility demonstration about a year ago that simulated the tracking of a drug from the point of manufacture to its administration by a pharmacist or doctor. During the simulation, whenever the latter scanned the RFID tag, the software authenticated whether the RFID tag was legitimate, whether the drug had expired, whether it was still safe to administer, who actually manufactured and handled it, whether there were any duplicates found within the supply chain, and more.

T3Ci plans to incorporate the software techniques and features detailed in the new patent into its current and future products, which include tracking and authentication services for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies. CPG companies make up the bulk of T3Ci's customers, says Rieman. In 2006, he adds, T3Ci stored and processed reads of more than 1 million RFID tags for its customers, and the company hopes to do the same this year for more than a billion tags.

At present, the company is in discussions with several major pharmaceutical companies regarding trials and implementations of its offerings. "We feel we have an approach here that is significantly better than the e-pedigree approach."

At least two other RFID companies were awarded patents aimed at the health-care market in recent months. Gentag was granted a patent to turn cell phones into universal RFID interrogators of passive tags. Such tags could be embedded, for example, in adhesive skin patches (see Gentag Foresees Cell Phones as Thermometers, Glucose Readers). Meanwhile, Digital Angel was awarded a patent for an RFID-enabled sensor tag it hopes will one day help diabetics more closely monitor their blood-sugar levels (see Digital Angel Developing an Implantable Glucose-Sensing RFID Tag).

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