Merck and p-Chip join forces on ‘digital twin’ tech

German pharma and chemical group Merck KGaA have formed an alliance to use micro-transponder technology as a crypto-anchor that can be used to create ‘digital twins’ of physical products, allowing them to be tracked and authenticated through the supply chain.

The two partners said the digital platform will combine software and hardware components to create a means of proving the authenticity of items “throughout the product life cycle.”

Thomas Endress, executive Director of EMD Digital at Merck, said the “integrated approach enables our customers to effortlessly develop their individual digital applications, tailored to their unique requirements.”

He continued: “By offering a secure and user-friendly platform, our solution ensures seamless interoperability while providing the flexibility and ease of integration that our customers demand.”

Merck has been working on the digital twin concept for some time, and last year reported the results of a pilot study carried out with packaging specialist Gerresheimer that involved using unique identifiers on primary packaging of pharma products.

The new combined solution enables the use of p-Chip’s tiny (500x500x100 μm) micro-transponders as crypto-anchors and according to the partners facilitates “the seamless integration of corresponding reader devices into customers' existing processes.”

Companies can build their applications on top of the software foundation, which uses multiple blockchain layers, various forms of crypto-anchors including barcodes and RFID chaps, digital certificates, and smart contracts, said Merck.

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