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New IoT device to transform pharma supply chains with end-to-end visibility

Saga Card will bring unprecedented visibility into the journey of medicines and vaccines, from production to patient.

The Saga Card is a credit card sized IoT device from Controlant which will transform the monitoring of sensitive pharmaceutical products.

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Controlant, a global leader in the digital transformation of pharma supply chains, in collaboration with a consortium of partners including Deutsche Telekom, one of the world's leading integrated telecommunications companies, announces at Mobile World Congress 2024 in Barcelona a transformative innovation to bring real-time, end-to-end visibility to pharma supply chains.

Saga Card will bring unprecedented visibility into the journey of medicines and vaccines, from production to patient, enabling enterprise pharma and logistics service providers to ensure a new generation of medicines reaches patients safely while reducing waste.

Putting the patient first

The speed and scale of the development of new medicines have never been greater. Clinical trials, personalized medicine, and complex therapies such as cell and gene offer new opportunities to improve health outcomes for millions, but as many of the new medicines are increasingly sensitive and complex, this poses new challenges in transporting them from laboratories to patients.

Saga Card is an advanced, compact IoT device that will extend visibility further into the highly regulated pharma supply chain. The robust, energy-efficient monitoring device represents a significant leap from today’s real-time visibility at the pallet level, down to secondary packaging, including cases and cartons.

When combined with Controlant’s Aurora cloud platform, it will provide real-time inventory visibility at country, region, and city levels to pharma companies, logistics companies serving the pharma industry, as well as packaging providers.

With real-time, end-to-end visibility, pharma companies can ensure medicines reach the patient at the right quality, time, and place. The new Saga Card will also increase transparency in pharma supply chains, providing data as medicines cross multiple handover points in their journey to the patient, making it easier for pharma companies to monitor and control inventories and reduce waste.

Smart by design, pharma-ready

Through a partnership defined by collaboration and ingenuity, the Saga Card is designed with a set of carefully selected components. The flight-ready device has functionalities such as location and temperature monitoring, light detection to sense when a box has been opened, and an accelerometer to sense when a box starts or stops moving.

Fit-for-purpose with nuSIM

Deutsche Telekom contributes global connectivity based on the nuSIM technology, an energy- and space-saving solution tailored specifically to IoT applications such as the Saga Card. nuSIM moves the SIM functionality from the physical SIM card directly to the chipset which saves on external components and contributes to the small size and minimal design. The nuSIM is not a physical part that requires shipping to the device manufacturing site; a fully digital process provides the nuSIM data right into the device during production. Deutsche Telekom’s roaming footprint allows worldwide usage of the Saga Card.

Nordic Semiconductor provides the nRF9160 SiP (System-in-Package), featuring a cellular modem with LTE-M and NB-IoT (narrowband IoT) that enables the cellular connectivity for the Saga Card. The SiP's size and form factor are fit for purpose for the pharma industry, and along with the sensors and integrated nuSIM, enable the functionalities that make Saga Card a revolutionary device in bringing end-to-end visibility to pharma supply chains. 

Secure monitoring powered by energy-efficient design

Saga Card utilizes an environmentally superior zinc-based battery supplied by Imprint Energy (a CCL Design company) that is significantly less greenhouse-gas intensive than lithium counterparts. The ultra-thin battery suits a compact device designed to monitor smaller units of product, with the right battery life to secure monitoring along every step of the chain.

Avery Dennison, a world-leading materials science and digital ID solutions company, and CCL Design, a global designer and manufacturer of a wide range of printed, functional, and decorative products, are facilitating the assembly and manufacturing of the device at scale. SODAQ, a company specializing in low-power tracking and sensing solutions has supported the development of Saga Card and advised on the industrial design of the product.

Controlant is trusted by 11 of the world’s top pharma and logistics companies because its solutions are pharma-compliant and industry-proven. Controlant is leveraging its deep industry expertise in a pilot phase with early adopters for the Saga Card, in line with its commitment to provide leading solutions that are recognized for ensuring patient safety and sustainability.

Zero waste

It is estimated that the healthcare sector contributes 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Product waste contributes to this, with around 30% of medicines and vaccines wasted along the supply chain, for reasons including temperature excursions and lack of visibility.

Saga Card enables significantly more efficient inventory management and visibility. With greater visibility into inventory and the flow of medicines and vaccines, the pharma industry can further reduce its environmental impact and take a major step towards achieving zero-waste supply chains.

Gisli Herjolfsson, CEO and co-founder of Controlant:

“Saga Card is an innovation designed to enable pharma supply chains to deliver today's and tomorrow’s transformative medicines, including complex new treatments, to patients around the world—safely and sustainably. Flexibility and creativity have defined the collaboration of the consortium partnership that has brought Saga Card from the drawing board to reality.”

Dennis Nikles, CEO Deutsche Telekom IoT GmbH:

”Deutsche Telekom’s top priority is to create solutions that benefit human beings and at the same time impress our customers with their simplicity. In cooperation with Controlant, we enable reliable healthcare that addresses the individual needs of patients. With nuSIM, the industry has a minimum hardware and software footprint, cost-efficient implementations, and minimal power consumption – a winning concept for many applications.“

Press contact

Lára Hilmarsdóttir,