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NanoInk, Inc
HeadquartersSkokie, Illinois, USA
IndustryNanotechnology, Pharmaceuticals
Slogan"Get Small" and "Trace the Truth"

NanoInk, Inc. is an emerging growth nanotechnology company headquartered in Skokie, IL, with a MEMS fabrication facility in Campbell, CA. A spin-off of Northwestern University and founded by Northwestern professor Chad Mirkin, NanoInk specializes in nanometer-scale manufacturing and applications development for the life science and semiconductor industries. With Dip Pen Nanolithography® (DPN®), a patented and proprietary nanofabrication technology that allows for unmatched flexibility, accuracy and also its high-resolution Nanoencryption™ technology, NanoInk is able to offer its pharmaceutical customers innovative solutions to fight counterfeiting and illegal diversion of blockbuster pharmaceutical products. Other key applications include nanoscale additive repair, and nanoscale rapid prototyping. Located in the Illinois Science + Technology Park, north of Chicago, NanoInk currently has over 100 patents and applications filed worldwide and has licensing agreements with Northwestern University, Stanford University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Brand Protection, Anti-Counterfeiting, and Nanoencryption™

One major focus of NanoInk is Pharmaceutical Brand Protection. Brand Protection helps to prevent counterfeit drugs.

NanoInk's website states that counterfeiting is a worldwide issue with almost anything of value in the marketplace at risk. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ten percent of the world's pharmaceuticals are counterfeit [1]. In Russia, twelve percent are fake, in Mexico, forty percent, and in Nigeria, up to eighty percent. Additionally, fifty percent of all drugs purchased on the internet are fake.

More than $35 billion in pharmaceutical revenue and $40 billion in aircraft parts revenue is lost each year to counterfeiting. Beyond the usual currency and luxury watches, counterfeit drugs affect not only manufacturers and retailers—the practice also can have damaging effects on the health and safety of the consumer:

  • In early 2006, a shipment of 25 pallets of Tamiflu® was seized in Chicago because they were fake (source: International Chamber of Commerce's BASCAP Counterfeit & Piracy Intelligence Report) [2].
  • 13 year old Kidney-transplant patient Tim Fagan nearly died after taking counterfeit Epogen—a drug that stimulates the production of red blood cells—which he purchased from a CVS pharmacy in Long Island several years ago. The drug was diluted 1/20th strength [3].
  • Distributors recalled more than 18 million tablets of the popular cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor in 2003, after patients received bitter-tasting counterfeits with little active ingredient. It was one of the largest prescription drug recalls in U.S history.

Pharmaceutical diversion is a subset of Illegal diversion (or parallel trade) of goods, which is a global issue that causes significant revenue losses for manufacturers. Products are sold to wholesalers in other countries at discounted prices. A diverter then sells the cheaper product to another country's wholesaler at a price that provides them a profit, but also allows the original wholesaler to undercut the fair market value. The manufacturer loses the revenue differential between the discounted price it was sold for to the original wholesaler and the final fair market value.

NanoInk has developed a unique anti-counterfeiting and illegal diversion solution to combat this problem: Nanoencryption™ technology. NanoInk's proprietary Nanoencryption™ technology process provides for full authentication and traceability of a product, at the unit level, throughout its supply chain. According to NanoInk, each individual pharmaceutical tablet will be equipped with Nanoencryption™ technology.

The practice of counterfeiting and illegal diversion affects products beyond pharmaceuticals, including the authenticity of currency, auto and aircraft parts, medical devices, ID cards, consumer and luxury goods, software, tobacco, electronic parts and more. NanoInk has targeted pharmaceuticals first, but is now extending its Nanoencryption™ technology to other highly counterfeited industries. In addition to pharmaceuticals, counterfeiting of aircraft parts has a direct impact on consumer safety:

  • The US FAA estimates that 2% of the 26 million parts (520,000 parts) installed on airplanes every year are counterfeit. Counterfeit parts have been found recently on Air Force One, which is the plane used by the President of the United States.
  • The owner of a Montana company was sentenced to more than a year in prison in December, 2006 for re-selling as next-to-new helicopter rotor blades that were "timed out"—meaning they had exceeded their life expectancy (source: International Chamber of Commerce's BASCAP Counterfeit & Piracy Intelligence Report).

NanoInk's proprietary Nanoencryption™ technology provides a unit level solution to the problem of counterfeiting.

See also

Nanosys Nanosphere

  • NanoInk Writes its Own Ticket Using Quills on the Nanoscale
  • Nscriptor
  • Out of Sight, Out of Mind
  • Protect the Product, Not the Package
  • Role of nanotechnology in brand protection

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "NanoInk". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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