- One of the enablers of pharmaceutical serialization worldwide, TraceLink, is looking to expand its software to include supply chain and inventory management solutions for the life sciences industry after closing a $93 million Series D funding round this week.
- The company has been working on expanding its platform for the past 12 to 18 months, Shabbir Dahod, CEO of TraceLink, told Supply Chain Dive in an email. By the end of 2019, TraceLink hopes to create new applications within its software suite to manage issues like global product recalls and supplier inventory.
- "Our initial focus is to enable our pharmaceutical and wholesale customers to leverage their own product data," Dahod said. "With serialization, there is now information at the item level, which can lead to things like better inventory management."
TraceLink rode the wave of pharmaceutical serialization requirements to success, positioning its software as a data connector for Big Pharma, contract manufacturers and healthcare providers alike. Now, it is preparing to expand its services and become closer to an SAP for life sciences than a pure-play data network.
"The pharmaceutical industry is at a digital tipping point and TraceLink is in the ideal position to drive major advancements in this transformation with its information-sharing network," Tyson Barber, a partner at the round's lead investment firm Georgian Partners, said in the press release.
Barber, of course, is literally sold into the idea. But his quote reveals a key advantage TraceLink has when designing solutions for the life sciences supply chain. With 930 direct customers and a network connecting more than 270,000 companies worldwide, the company can tap into existing relationships to provide a suite of applications leveraging data that was unavailable prior to serialization.
In that sense, the wide range of applications TraceLink is eyeing as expansion opportunities provides an early look at the potential ways serialization will change inventory management for the life sciences industry.
"For example, the industry has chronic drug shortages — companies will be able to leverage predictability within the supply chain to make sure those products are available for the patients," Dahod said.
He added TraceLink is currently working on a platform to turn the customer data currently available on the network "into a data lake that will be utilized for building specific machine learning and enabled applications." In the future, third-party providers will be able to build applications off of the suite.
The company is not shying away from its software-as-a-service ambitions. In the press release, the company provided a laundry list of specific applications it hopes to develop: supplier collaboration, patient communities, personalized medicine, predictive care and gene therapies.
At the core of each lies the push to better exchange information and then leverage that into actionable insights.
"Supply chain and logistics are central to the gene and cell therapy process," Dahod said as an example. "In order to meet the quality and traceability requirements an integrated network from clinician to pharmaceutical company must execute a 360-degree process managing the life history of the cells with full environmental and process information."
The pitch sold quite well to investors: the Series D funding round was the largest ever by TraceLink, which now can claim to have raised a total of $167 million in capital across all rounds, with more than half ($93 million) coming in the latest funding round.