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Merger creates new anticounterfeiting player

20-Nov-2003

Two companies specialising in technologies used in the prevention of counterfeiting, adulteration and diversion of products have merged to form a new player called Authentix.

The marriage of Isotag Technology and Biocode creates a company that is claimed to be the global leader in fuel authentication and is set to take on the pharmaceutical, spirits, agrochemicals and government security sectors.

Isotag is contributing a molecular marking technology that can be used to authemticate both products and their packaging, and through the acquisition of Calyx earlier this year also has a position in both overt and covert security links.

The merger expands this portfolio to include Biocode 's patented Marker Pair technology, used to mark ingestible products such as pharmaceuticals, foods and beverages.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) started a major new consultation exercise on the problem of drug counterfeiting earlier this year, after seeing the first signs of an upswing in the number of cases.

The initiative included the creation of an internal agency task force to explore the use of modern technologies, plus other measures, such as stronger enforcement, to make it harder to distribute fake drugs.

Authentix already has direct experience of tackling a counterfeiting issue in the drug industry. For example, one of the largest global pharmaceutical manufacturers turned to Isotag to develop a strategic solution to protect a leading prescription drug.

The drug was discovered in counterfeit use in the US market, and the manufacturer wanted to find a quick solution to the problem in order to safeguard its reputation, and fend off the risk of product shortages and quality-control issues. Isotag provided an FDA approved solution, to ensure that patients could easily distinguish genuine product from counterfeit, based on both overt and covert features on the packaging and labelling, which could be verified by consumers and inspectors in the field and laboratory.

The company estimates that the pharmaceutical manufacturer saved more than $1 billion by averting a product recall, while maintaining confidence in the brand among consumers and the broader healthcare community.

David Moxam, the chief executive of the new company (who was formerly CEO of Isotag), said that the primary areas of focus are the prevention of counterfeit fraud, adulteration, smuggling, diversion and unauthorized distribution of materials. Other areas include monitoring brand and supply chain abuse in the market, and providing remediation for brand and distribution infringements.

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