Gerresheimer and Merck’s digital twin solution for primary packaging

Provides primary packaging with a unique ID

The partnership between Gerrensheimer’s Gx Biological Solutions and Nelson Labs leverages the expertise and competencies of two leaders in science and technology (Gerresheimer)

Gerresheimer AG, a provider of healthcare solutions and drug delivery systems for pharma, biotech and cosmetics, and Merck, a leading science and technology company, jointly developed a digital twin solution to ensure traceability and trust in crucial steps along the pharmaceutical supply chain.

The proof of concept aims to transform the pharma supply chain by creating digital twins for primary packaging. Through a single interconnected network, participants will benefit from full traceability and digital trust, resulting in cost savings, improved quality, and even new business models, thanks to process automation.

“We are convinced that our primary packaging will become the key to enable supply networks across organizations and lead to faster process operations and data-informed decision making,” said Daniel Diezi, vice-president, Digitalization & New Business Models at Gerresheimer.

“At Merck, we develop innovative digital solutions to help companies exploit the exciting advantages of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and create digital twins they can really trust. We are proud to be a digital sparring partner to help Gerresheimer realize this by putting our patented digital technologies at their service,” said Thomas Endress, executive director of EMD Digital at Merck.

With the jointly developed solution, Gerresheimer’s physical primary packaging is provided with a trusted “key”, enabling access to its digital twin. Primary packaging, such as syringes or vials, “travel” through the whole supply chain, from production to the point of care, connecting and collecting information that will be linked to their unique ID. They become the key to unlocking data coming from numerous digital ecosystems, enabling more efficient collaboration among various organizations in the supply network.

The new solution implemented on Gerresheimer products uses the blockchain-based platform and multi-patented authentication technologies developed by Merck to anchor physical objects securely in the digital world. In combination with Industry 4.0 standards, this makes it highly trustworthy and reliable. As a science and technology company that operates across different business sectors, Merck also develops forward-looking digital solutions for customers that can be applied in a wide variety of industries.

The joint PoC of Gerresheimer and Merck comprises physical syringes with a secure unique ID, a smartphone application, and access to the digital platform of Merck in order to unlock the digital twin features. The smartphone app is accessible to authorized stakeholders such as brand owners (marketing authorization holders) and quality assurance officers of the manufacturer.

After authenticating the syringe and reading the unique ID, the authorized user can access features such as quality data on demand, root cause analysis data, and customer complaint handling.

In this particular case, as in pharmaceutical supply chains where many specialists contribute to overall success, Gerresheimer and Merck intend to onboard further parties to build additional seamless multiparty solutions and exploit the full potential of traceability from production to the point of care. As soon as additional parties, such as contract manufacturing organizations, logistics providers, and regulatory bodies, adopt the solution, the potential for automated business logic grows for use cases such as automated machine-to-machine generation of certificates and its exchange across different parties.


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