By Saujanya Vruddhula
Drug counterfeiting is a prevailing problem causing a loss of approximately $150 billion to the industry annually and is increasing year by year. Oggic aims to prevent drug counterfeiting by printing micro QR codes directly onto the drugs using tablet printers. The messages contained within these QR codes will be cryptographically signed by the manufacturer and verified by any person in the supply-chain, as well as patients to verify the authenticity of the drug. Furthermore, each drug transaction, the movement of drug between players, will be recorded on the blockchain making it tamper proof, decentralised, timestamped, and highly secure.
I was inspired to tackle this global issue after reading headlines about the deaths and loss of money to the industry caused by counterfeit medicine, and with the help of The Enterprise Lab who taught me to be visionary and gave me a direction, I was able to pivot from a non-commercial idea to a highly commercial, scalable and implementable project.
I joined WE innovate programme and was able to access business coaching and chats with the Enterprise Lab regarding market research, pitching, presentation, and networking which enabled me to go through to phase two. Oggic then went on to win WE Innovate and the £15,000 prize!
We are excited to use the WE Innovate prize money to recruit engineers for our team, patenting and designing a user interface. At the moment we are meeting industry experts to gain more insight into how to implement our product and also working to make QR code printing more precise and easier to scan. A big milestone since winning WE Innovate has been finishing our software prototype and being able to do market research to figure out ways to enter the market and make Oggic a successful business. The Pharmaceutical industry is tightly regulated, so getting the market research done takes months. Later this year we will be going for our series A funding and are currently looking for contacts from the pharmaceutical industry.
One of the biggest challenges has been juggling running a business alongside exams and coursework, which can be tough! My advice to students thinking of starting a business would is to be passionate about your idea and believe in yourself. If you believe in your idea despite what people think of it, and are capable of executing it, no one can stop you from achieving your goals. You just need proper advice, self-belief, and passion to be a successful entrepreneur.