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Tracelink Raises $51.1 Million To Speed Growth

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TraceLink Inc., a North Reading startup that develops software to help drug companies fight counterfeiting by tracking their medicine shipments, said Wednesday that it has raised $51.5 million in venture capital to speed its growth.

The company will use the cash infusion to beef up its sales and marketing operations in Europe and elsewhere while working on new health care and patient adherence software application, said chief executive Shabbir Dahod. “We’re continuing our expansion globally,” Dahod said.

TraceLink’s latest funding round — its third — was led by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity. Also taking part were previous TraceLink investors FirstMark Capital of New York, Volition Capital of Boston, and F-Prime Capital, a Cambridge affiliate of Fidelity Investments. The round brings the company’s total funding to $77 million. TraceLink initially raised $5.5 million in February 2014 and it raised another $20.2 million last year.

Starting next November, a US law will require drug makers and their contractors to begin tracing their shipments to combat counterfeit prescription drugs, which have sickened patients and bedeviled health officials for decades. Similar laws and regulations will be taking effect in the coming years in Europe, China, Japan, and several other places.

TraceLink is among a cluster of technology vendors selling tools to document the path of drugs from manufacturers to distributors and dispensers, and finally to the pharmacies that sell the products. Competitors include German software giant SAP, along with more than a dozen smaller companies, such as Axway Software SA of France, rfXcel Corp. of San Ramon, Calif., and Frequentz Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif., company that bought a software business from IBM Corp.

Dahod said he expects TraceLink will seek to go public in the near future through an initial public offering, but he declined to specify a timetable.