CSE Entrepreneur Stories: TruTrace Tech. Protects IP and Sends Counterfeiters Packing

We are proud to have our CEO featured in this month’s Entrepreneur Stories, presented by the CSE. They discuss what technologies we are leveraging to help protect IP and make it harder and harder for counterfeiters to infiltrate the markets. They also discuss the dream team in Seattle, the pilot program with Shopper’s in Canada and what the future could hold. 

Here is a short excerpt from the full interview. To read the full interview click here.

“Channeling the power of blockchain

With TruTrace, Galarza now channels the power of blockchain to enhance trust and fix the grim realities of corrupted supply chains in the medical cannabis industry.

In a nutshell, TruTrace combines the power of big data with the security of blockchain to provide strain identification, registration and verification for cannabis at scale.

The firm’s immutable, cryptographically secure technology is the brainchild of Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Tommy Stephenson, who developed enterprise software platforms over two decades for companies such as Microsoft and Mercedes Benz.

Galarza says his favourite part of the job is traveling to Seattle to visit the development centre, which has “a Disney feel” to it. The engineers exude an “if we can dream it, we can build it” philosophy, he says.”

Dope Magazine: The Genetics of Cannabis

TruTrace Featured on Dope Magazine:

The Genetics of Cannabis: Trutrace’s Software is Protecting Producers and Patients through Tracking Technology

 
 

“When people hear the word blockchain, they often think of the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but TruTrace Technologies (“TruTrace”) is using blockchain to track cannabis from seed to the hands of medical patients in Canada – specifically from a testing and supply chain perspective. They wanted to develop a dynamic supply chain visibility solution that could implement a blockchain solution into their framework, allowing TruTrace not only to protect the data surrounding cannabis, but cannabis consumers and patients at large.

So, who is validating these transactions? With cryptocurrency, a large group of decentralized miners (millions of computers across the world) track the exchange of cryptocurrency every time it passes “hands,” so to speak. When it comes to tracking cannabis genetics among a myriad of other data points, the blockchain miners with TruTrace ensure validity via a “trusted node network,” according to TruTrace CEO Robert Galarza, who states that the various players (governing bodies) along the way include pharmacies, licensed producers and in this instance, Health Canada. It is not an open mining solution that’s tokenizing the support of the chain itself, but rather a network of stakeholders looking to create a better level of trust when it comes to the sale of medical cannabis in Canada. With TruTrace, the industry stakeholders are the ones who govern the body and manage the ledger. Software solutions and SaaS models can then be built off that particular chain in an effort to access information.

The inspiration behind TruTrace came from an inherent issue that they saw in seed to sale tracking systems without proper inventory identification. They knew that genetics was the key to a larger tracking solution and they knew that the future of medical cannabis across the globe would eventually come down to identifying, tracking and verifying the genetics and source of cannabis strains….”

 

Find out more about our pilot program in Canada, our focus on consumer safety and integrity, and learn about the functionality of the platform as well as the science behind the testing  by reading the FULL article on Dope Magazine – follow the link below

MobileSyrup: How Shoppers Drug Mart will use blockchain to validate medical cannabis

TruTrace Featured on MobileSyrup:

Retail pharmacy giant, Shoppers Drug Mart, is partnering with Vancouver-based TruTrace Technologies to utilize the latter company’s blockchain technology to track and source the medical cannabis it will sell. The pilot project, set to run until November 2019, is designed to take TruTrace’s StrainSecure technology “for identity management, asset tracking, validation, and product authentication.” The plan is to also serve as a “master registry” to standardize testing and quality assurance for the medical cannabis Shoppers Drug Mart will carry as inventory. In such a nascent industry, TruTrace believes the difference in quantifying the genetics of each cannabis product isn’t reliant just on the name or brand attached to it, but rather the DNA of the plant itself. That’s where StrainSecure comes in.

Find out more about how it works, StrainSecure’s ‘Master Registry,’ and if the pilot program will include recreational cannabis by reading the FULL article on MobileSyrup – follow the link below

Bloomberg: Pot-Tracking Blockchain System Could Be Used by CVS, Walgreens

TruTrace Featured on Bloomberg: 

Canada’s largest pharmacy chain and the provider of a blockchain program for tracking medical pot believe their partnership will act as a model for U.S. drug stores like CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.

Shoppers Drug Mart, a unit of Loblaw Cos. with about 1,300 pharmacies across Canada, is partnering with TruTrace Technologies Inc. on a pilot program that will use blockchain to identify, track and verify the source and genetics of cannabis used by medical patients. The goal is to make it more like traditional medicine in order to reassure physicians and patients that pot is a safe treatment, said Ken Weisbrod, Shoppers’ vice president of pharmacy business development and initiatives.

 “This is the future for medical cannabis in the world,” Weisbrod said at the World Cannabis Congress in Saint John, New Brunswick, in his first-ever public remarks about Shoppers’ pot business. “I know the U.S. is looking at what we’re doing here, and it’s really important that we take this leadership stance.”

 Los Angeles-based TruTrace sees big opportunities for its track-and-trace software in the U.S. CBD market. The U.S. legalized cannabidiol derived from hemp late last year, but some products have been found to contain less CBD than advertised, or even none at all. CVS and Walgreens, along with other major chains like Kroger Co., have begun selling CBD lotions and balms at some of their stores.

 “We think this push with Shoppers will hopefully lead into a similar relationship with the Walgreens and CVS’s of the world,” TruTrace Chief Executive Officer Robert Galarza said in an interview at the conference. “There’s skepticism right now from the medical industry and we’re trying to help breach that; it all boils down to information. Information is power, data is power.”…

 

Shoppers Drug Mart Announces Partnership with TruTrace Technologies Inc. to Help Guarantee Product Quality and Genetics From Genome-to-Patient

Shoppers Drug Mart is partnering with TruTrace Technologies Inc. (TTT.V) to bolster its medical cannabis retail platform. The Vancouver-based company’s blockchain-based software is designed to guarantee product quality and genetics throughout supply chain from genome-to-patient.

The pharmacy giant said the move brings medical cannabis closer in line with standards for other drugs in a statement to Yahoo Finance Canada, ahead of the deal’s announcement at the World Cannabis Congress in Saint John, N.B. on Monday.

“Medical cannabis should have the same levels of traceability and accountability as any other drug therapy in order for patients and prescribers to feel confident about it as a treatment,” said Ken Weisbrod, Shoppers Drug Mart’s vice president of pharmacy business development and initiatives.

“When a patient takes any other medication there is an expectation that the medicine is standardized, and they can expect consistent clinical outcomes and results. Although that’s not always a guarantee with medical cannabis at the moment, we’re hoping this new program can help change that.”

TruTrace’s pilot project with the wholly-owned subsidiary of Loblaw Companies Limited (L.TO) will allow the company to track real-time data from licensed producers and testing labs, including product genetics, providence, quality and shipment information. The data will be securely added to a blockchain ledger where it can be viewed by Shoppers Drug Mart, and accessed to varying degrees by authorized labs, licensed producers and patients.

The pilot phase, which is expected to last until the end of July, will see the technology applied to a limited number of products for sale on the Shoppers Drug Mart medical cannabis website. The program is expected to ramp up to handle a larger volume of products by November.

TruTrace chief executive officer Robert Galazara said his company was initially met with skepticism by the Shoppers Drug Mart team.

Due to its former name, BLOCKStrain Technology Corp., the company was swept up in investor hype around both cryptocurrency and cannabis. TruTrace ditched that moniker in April to better reflect its focus.

Galazara said he spent nearly a year selling Shoppers Drug Mart on the merits of a secure digital ledger to track cannabis before orders reach distribution warehouses.

“In cannabis, testing and providence has been a big issue. People just don’t know what they are getting,” he told Yahoo Finance Canada in an interview.

He points to recalls issued by California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control after a lab was caught falsifying pesticide test reports. TruTrace hopes to one day gather data directly from testing equipment in order to eliminate the risk of human interference.

The company’s StrainSecure software tracks cannabis from genome-to-patient, assuring retailers and end-users that products are authentic by securely adding information to the blockchain at each stage of growth and processing.

“If am regulating a product, and I can’t tell the difference between any of that product, how do I have any chance of having real oversight over who is growing legally, who is buying legally, who is labelling or mislabelling products, and who is actually holding themselves to a higher business standard?”

The company’s existing contract with Shoppers Drug Mart includes a payment of $300,000 for the proof of concept build, plus ongoing service fees.

“We have become such a value proposition for organizations like Shoppers. I don’t really care what you want to call a particular strain. We need to be able to authenticate that when you sell the product six months from now, that a product is the same exact product that you were selling previously,” Galazara said.

“Part of the reason we utilize blockchain is to be able to say that this cannabis was tested on this date. That record exists forever.”

By capturing plant genetics directly from labs, StrainSecure helps licensed producers protect intellectual property and streamline reporting with regulators.

The company expects to work with about a dozen producers in Canada, including several that supply Shoppers Drug Mart with medical cannabis such as Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO), Tilray Inc. (TLRY), and Aphria Inc. (APHA.TO)

For dispensaries and consumers, the platform uses QR codes to instantly deliver a wealth of product information. Shoppers Drug Mart customers will scan codes from the company’s website, and eventually on product packages, if regulations allow it.

 

TruTrace can also mitigate the risk of companies like Shoppers Drug Mart taking delivery of cannabis they cannot sell.

“Shoppers is going to have visibility and verification that a product is exactly what it is supposed to be before it hits their doors,” Galazara said. “Today, if it’s not the right product, or it doesn’t test out the right way, or the COAs (certificate of authenticity) don’t match . . . you are dealing with massive backlogs where you have to destroy product you are now financially responsible for.”

Galazara sees the company as a much-needed conduit for transparency in an industry were all the regulations and procedures are new and largely untested.

Verifiable data will play an important role in keeping cannabis industry players honest, especially in the event companies fall on hard times and attempt to cut corners.

Galazara predicts that risk will be particularly acute in Canada, as competition from the United States intensifies.

“We all know out of all the licensed producers in the marketplace, at least half of them or more are going to be gone in five years,” he said. “What is going to happen when any sort of difficulties fall into play? You are going to see people cutting corners.”