Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Ambrosus helps Trek inject blockchain into pharma supply chain

Steve Rogerson
August 16, 2017

Swiss company Ambrosus is helping Trek Therapeutics apply integrated sensors coupled with blockchain-based technology to improve the pharmaceutical drug manufacturing supply chain for its clinical development programme.
The announcement comes as blockchain industry heavyweight Jaron Lukasiewicz joins Ambrosus as a strategic advisor.
Combining high-tech sensors and blockchain, and powered by smart contracts, Ambrosus is building a publicly-verifiable, community-driven ecosystem to ensure the quality, safety and origins of essential products, such as food, medicine and commodities.
As part of the collaboration, Ambrosus will conduct pilot projects with Trek to monitor the quality, safety and integrity of all stages of the pharmaceutical manufacturing process.
“Currently the pharmaceutical manufacturing process is highly regulated by pharmaceutical manufacturers and by regulatory authorities in an extremely labour-intensive and expensive manner,” said Ann Kwong, co-founder and CEO of Massachusetts-based Trek. “We hope to partner with Ambrosus to create a continuous monitoring and tracking system that will be less labour intensive, less expensive and more transparent to all parties with a stake in quality pharmaceutical manufacturing.”
She said the goal was to develop a system that was robust enough that Trek could submit data to support its manufacturing application for regulatory approval of its drugs from the FDA and EMA authorities.
“Additionally, patients currently have no way to ascertain the quality of the medicines they ingest,” she said. “Trek believes it is important to be able to demonstrate to patients that while our drugs are affordable, they’re also of the highest quality.”
Ambrosus CEO Angel Versetti added: “Following the successful implementation of the Ambrosus protocol in global food supply chains, we are delighted to now apply our blockchain protocol to help ensure the quality, safety and integrity of another vitally important product – ?pharmaceuticals.”
Trek Therapeutics is a privately-held, public-benefit corporation developing treatments for serious infections. Its mission is to provide cost-effective, affordable and accessible medicines to treat patients that suffer from infectious diseases and commercialise them for global populations. Since the company’s founding in 2014, Trek has raised US$10m in series A funding.
“Trek is focused on developing safe, novel medicines for infectious diseases at affordable and accessible prices,” said Versetti. “The pharmaceutical supply chain encompasses many phases and a multitude of stakeholders, requiring responsible parties to seek new methods of guaranteeing the quality and integrity of critical products. As Trek continues its mission to develop pharmaceuticals for budget-constrained patients across North America and Europe, our partnership will help to develop protocols to provide transparency and quality assurance during each phase of the process.
As part of the pilot projects, Ambrosus’s protocol will work to verify and track the entire manufacturing chain from the primary chemical starting materials through multiple steps of synthesis, purification and verification of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API). This will be followed by formulation of the API into drug product, including packaging, labelling, storage and shipping to clinical trial sites.
“Backed by a superb core team of developers, advisors and researchers, Ambrosus’ protocol will provide the transparency necessary in our manufacturing process to help ensure the integrity of supply chains,” Kwong said. “With our commitment to providing affordable high quality medicine, we believe this partnership could revolutionise the pharmaceutical industry quality control of manufacturing at every stage from plant to patient.”
Joining the Ambrosus team as an advisor is blockchain luminary Jaron Lukasiewicz. Versetti added: “Ambrosus is excited to welcome Jaron Lukasiewicz as our strategic advisor. As a highly-respected blockchain industry figure we are eager to utilise his invaluable expertise as we lead up to our September token sale and beyond.”
Lukasiewicz has been a notable bitcoin and blockchain industry figurehead since 2012. He founded and served as CEO of Coinsetter, a New York based bitcoin exchange, which was acquired by Kraken in 2016. The sale was, at the time, the largest M&A deal in bitcoin history.
Lukasiewicz also served as CEO of Cavirtex, the oldest and largest Canadian bitcoin exchange, which was also acquired by Kraken in 2016. Since the acquisition, Lukasiewicz has served as an active advisor to several blockchain companies and blockchain investment funds in addition to his role as the CEO of Wrkflow.
“I am excited about the future of the Ambrosus project and equally the team behind it, who together carries decades of experience in their target markets,” said Lukasiewicz. “Ambrosus can become a fundamental technology utilised in sectors ranging from food to pharma, stretching the boundaries of what blockchain technology can accomplish in real world applications.”