Pharma distribution technologies start heading for the 'cloud'

Systech builds on its packaging execution/serialization capabilities with an acquisition

While many data transfers involving pharma logistics and distribution are already cloud-based (through the simple mechanism that Internet data communications are in the cloud already), true cloud-based drug tracking is still in a nascent form. Now, some of the IT vendors that have been involved in various drug-tracking efforts are implementing explicit, cloud-based systems.

The latest is Systech International (Cranbury, NJ), which has a widely used suite of software tools, the Packaging Execution System (PES) that has been implemented at many of the pharma manufacturers who have already installed unit serialization systems on their packaging lines. In late May, Systech announced that it has acquired Apostrophe Systems (Philadelphia), which specializes in SaaS and cloud-based IT solutions.

“This is not specifically about trading partners sharing track-and-trace data in the cloud,” says Bob DeJean, Systech president, but rather the capability to implement the company’s PES as a SaaS tool, rather than requiring manufacturers to buy the hardware and site licenses to install PES at their packaging lines. “But it certainly helps move the industry forward toward that data-sharing.”

DeJean says that its solutions are in use at several multinational manufacturers that have the infrastructure and IT resources to manage the volume of data generated by serialization systems—and in fact, Systech has already paired up with Apostrophe at some of these implementations. The cloud-based offering, however, will be aimed primarily at mid-tier manufacuturers or contract manufacturers who need to get on the serialization bandwagon, but want to deploy the technology with minimal capital investment.