EN-TAG™ is an ultra-miniaturized data matrix technology applied to a standard holographic feature or otherwise reflective surface (e.g. metallic foils, hologram strips, etc). The technology offers the highest level of security combined with high information content (~30 kB per cm²). By way of comparison, the information content of a single EN-TAG™ is about 20-100 times higher than that offered by a standard 2D data matrix. EN-TAG™ is a covert security feature that equips each product with a counterfeit-proof data carrier label for authentication and traceability purposes, and is designed to enhance an existing holographic substrate.
EN-TAG™ labels can be used to store digital data such as company logos, videos, or drug pedigree information (in any language), including drug name, dosage form and strength, expiration date, lot number, etc.. By way of comparison, a 1 mm² tag may contain up to 300 text characters. EN-TAG™ can be used as stand-alone labels or complemented with other overt or covert features for additional layers of security.
“One of the features of this technology-says Dr. Claudio Rota, Business Development Advisor at Scriba Nanotecnologie – is its ability to offer the industry a truly unique, low-cost solution for authenticating their drugs, as well as ensuring that their products have been properly stored during transport. For temperature-sensitive products in particular, such as biologics, food products, wine, etc., the technology is a first-in-class security feature with a clear-cut value proposition”.
Cold chain monitoring is a major challenge to the pharmaceutical industry. Medicines must travel greater distances between production facilities and distribution centers than they did a few years ago, and the distribution chain often involves lengthy clearance procedures at customs, several modes of transportation, different climate zones and seasonal changes. It is estimated that 4% of the cold-chain shipments en route to destination are subject to a temperature excursion that may make the supplies unusable. Most inspectors and regulators indicate that the majority of temperature excursions happen because of problems in physical handling processes, lack of adequate procedures, training or simply awareness.
It is hard to ensure 100% safety in the cold chain monitoring process. Accidents still happen while it is known that exposing drugs such as biologics to temperature extremes can be dangerous. At the pallet level, drug makers have many options when it comes to ensuring that their temperature-sensitive products are properly delivered to the end user. However, none of the existing technologies, including data-loggers, RFID or insulated shippers can really be used to monitor the thermal history of each package or blister pack.
Thermal monitoring with EN-TAG™ is achieved by integrating the authentication technology with a thermo-sensitive, FDA-approved polymeric layer. Thermal monitoring is then made possible by detecting the subtle optical changes that take place when the tag is exposed to temperatures exceeding a pre-set threshold. Threshold temperatures are fully customizable to specific temperature requirements. Most importantly, exposing an EN-TAG™ to higher-than-threshold temperatures does not affect or change the secure information contained within it.
With the threat of counterfeit drugs and the globalization of the industry, consumers are always at risk that their product is not genuine and safe. The bottom line is that there is a real risk involved, and security solution providers have been busy trying to come up with the next technology to protect consumers by ensuring that their medicine, baby formula, cosmetic, food or drink products are safe. “EN-TAG™ gives that power back to the industry and the consumer by confirming that the products we use are authentic and safe. This connection establishes trust among consumers and manufacturers”, Dr. Rota confirmed.
About Scriba Nanotecnologie
Scriba Nanotecnologie (scriba-nanotec.com) is a R&D company developing innovative solutions for brand identification, security and safety, as well as custom-made products for micro and nanotechnology. Based in Bologna, Italy, the company is actively engaged with a number of security solution providers to begin commercialization of the EN-TAG™ technology.