Pharmaceutical serialization – an essential technology investment


Parabellum Investments is an established investor in specialist technology and enterprise software firms.

The founder and CEO of Parabellum Investments, Rami Cassis, has long recognized the potential for the latest innovations in technology to rewrite the way we operate and live our lives, in both a business sense and a personal one.

One of Parabellum Investments’ established portfolio companies is Advanco, one of the globe’s leading providers for level 3 and level 4 item-level serialization within the life sciences and pharmaceutical sectors. Advanco has been providing leading solutions for the cross-industry serialization of products, with a particular focus on the global pharmaceutical industry, for more than 11 years.

Serialization is recognized as being one of the most specialist areas of the pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors. The technology needed to power the intricate operating systems is sophisticated and needs regular updates to keep it functioning at the peak of its power. The people needed to install, teach, and supervise this technology are experts in their field.

Against this backdrop, many will increasingly look for a fully managed serialization solution. After all, they will be in good company, with reliance on fully managed third parties increasingly becoming the norm for many industries, who, for example, use outside information technology providers, human resources consultants, and accounting experts.

The importance of serialization for the future of pharma

The reasons why serialization is so important to the pharmaceutical sector are countless. However, as recognized by Parabellum Investments and Rami Cassis, the chief among them is regulation. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are already among the most tightly regulated manufacturing groups on the planet, with the ability to uniquely identify each unit of medicine being one of the most important rules they must abide by.

The need for unique identification is currently increasing further across the world. Most recently, traceability legislation has been mandated in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to combat the growing problem of counterfeit medicines. If MENA’s pharmaceutical companies fail to achieve compliance, they face being fined, or even getting barred from product launches which could potentially lead to significant business and financial implications.

Serialization is essential for the future of pharma – and by working with Advanco to develop serialization to its maximum potential, Parabellum Investments and Rami Cassis continue to specialize in technology investing in the pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors.

How technology investing is helping the pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors

Pharmaceutical manufacturers are not serialization specialists. After all, they have never been expected to be experts in this area, especially in parts of the world where serialization is only just becoming an essential requirement.

They have traditionally been left to focus on their “day job”, i.e., producing the medication that the world needs. They simply do not have the bandwidth to think about the nuances of serialization, an incredibly complex function, one involving costly technology, operated by people with an encyclopedic, in-depth knowledge of multiple, intricate functions.

One way around this might be to hire experts who can run an in-house serialization function. However, it is not as simple as this. Where are these experts going to come from?

There is a shortage of people with the necessary experience and up-to-date knowledge of the latest systems, and the people who are out there will usually be looked after very well – so much so that they are unlikely to be actively looking to move to another firm. Many pharmaceutical firms will find it incredibly difficult to recruit enough people in the first place, let alone ensure they are armed with the latest knowledge and technical insights demanded by this sector which is constantly evolving.

Managed service in practice

The managed service model is one that is tried and tested across multiple industries. Large consulting companies offer a managed service in many areas, including software, reporting, audits, and multiple operational areas.

In a similar manner, the managed service model for pharmaceutical serialization could include the installation of the latest serialization software, incorporating an interface to other systems, which is supported by 24/7 support. It can also incorporate essential governance and compliance reporting.

An outsourced serialization function can even be set up to go one step further and directly run and operate key packaging machines alongside the actual core serialization process.

There is an attractive value proposition for this structure. Not only does it allow pharmaceutical firms to concentrate on their core business, but it also enables them to benefit from economies of scale. After all, third-party serialization firms invest in the latest technology on behalf of their clients and employ serialization experts who are actively shaping the future of the entire sector.

In a similar vein, it reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO) for pharmaceutical firms. Purchasing the necessary equipment, technology, knowledge, and experience needed to set up a serialization function is an expensive task – especially when you consider this is just the start of the process.

Technology is constantly changing. Within a year or so, the current serialization technology could quite easily be redundant, resulting in the need for more expense and disruption to ensure systems are fit for purpose. Likewise, people need to be constantly learning about the latest developments within serialization – a function that would direct resources away from the core function of manufacturers.

By continually investing in serialization technology through Advanco and Parabellum Investments, Rami Cassis remains an established specialist technology investor — one that is poised to make a significant contribution to the pharmaceutical and life sciences serialization sector over the coming years.