Pharmasecure, which enables consumers in emerging markets to authenticate drugs via SMS, has raised US$3.9 million in order to take advantage of new regulations imposed by the Indian government. Earlier this year the government introduced rules that all drugs exported from India must have unique serial numbers and barcodes. The deadline for implementation is July 2012. Pharmasecure plans to use the funds raised to create new applications in response to the rule change. “We are investing in more applications that can ride on the mandated serialisation to increase the reach and distribution of our clients’ products and better health for their consumers,” said Pharmasecure’s CEO and co-founder Nathan Sigworth. Pharmasecure’s clients are drugs companies for whom the firm prints a unique code on each bubblepack of pills along with a phone number to which a buyer sends a SMS to verify the product’s authenticity.
Pharmasecure has printed over 65 million codes for packaging since launching in India in 2009 and says it has agreement in place “to protect over 1.5 billion pharmaceutical packages in India and exported from India over the next year”. That number continues to grow says the firm. But Pharmasecure does face rivals offering similar technology to drugs suppliers, including Sproxil which aims to launch in India before the end of the year. Another company active in the SMS-drug-authentication market is mPedigree who is working with Orange in Cameroon and Kenya.
The US$3.9 million investment in Pharmasecure was led by ex Google CEO Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavors and also included Gray Ghost Ventures, Healthtech Capital and the TEEC Angel Fund. Healthtech Capital previously led a US$200,000 investment round in September.