German packaging supplier Gerresheimer and pharmaceutical company Merck have jointly created a digital twin solution to ‘transform’ the pharmaceutical supply chain.

The joint proof of concept USES a blockchain-based platform and multi-patented authentication technologies developed by Merck.

It combines physical syringes with a unique ID, a smartphone application and access to Merck’s digital platform to unlock the digital twin features.

Gerresheimer and Merck said that authorised stakeholders, including brand owners and quality assurance officers, will have access to the mobile app.

They can make use of on-demand quality data, root-cause analysis data and other features by authenticating the syringe and reading the unique ID.

Merck EMD Digital executive director Thomas Endress said: “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 realise this by putting our patented digital technologies at their service.”

Gerresheimer will implement the new solution for its physical primary packaging such as syringes and vials.

The company said users will benefit from full traceability and digital trust through a single interconnected network.

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

Based in Düsseldorf, Gerresheimer supplies primary packaging products made from special-purpose glass and plastics for medication and drug delivery devices.

In August this year, the company announced an investment of up to $94m to increase its manufacturing, supply and logistics capability for glass vials in the US.

The expansion project will involve Gerresheimer adding vial forming lines to its facility in Morganton, North Carolina.