In a previous article we presented the basics of cryptocurrency and blockchain. We admit, there is a lot of of hype behind cryptocurrencies causing large swings in market cap. However, there are some inherent benefits to blockchain technology that enable innovative solutions, beyond cryptocurrencies, that solve current problems in healthcare and biotech.
In our article we discussed the two key benefits of blockchain architecture:
- data is decentralized (there is no middle man) and
- complex algorithms can be solved with the combined resources of nodes within the network.
While blockchain is a good foundation to conduct financial transactions, it can serve even more significant purposes. Many companies have recognized these benefits and are developing innovative products to solve current problems.
Here are few noteworthy companies that are effectively using blockchain in the healthcare and biotech sector.
Blockchain Companies in Biotech & Healthcare
1. Nebula Genomics for personalized DNA sequencing
- DNA sequencing requires storage space. The DNA sequence of an individual requires 200 gigabytes of storage. As more and more individuals opt to sequence their DNA, it becomes more complex to analyze data to identify patterns.
- DNA sequencing is (still) expensive for consumers. The leading company 23andme used to charge $999 to sequence data. The price has dropped since, as the company has realized the benefits of having that data. Still the incentive to pay and offer valuable genomic data to a third party is minimal.
- The DNA sequencing company is a middleman that sells your sequence to Pharma companies. In the current models, your DNA sequence is owned/stored by the company conducting the analysis.
- Sequencing is complex.
- Nebula Genomics allows the sequence owner to privately store their data. By effectively using the data capacities within the network, they eliminate the need for centralized data storage.
- To encourage participation, Nebula Genomics offers participants tokens in exchange for data.
- Participant own the data and can choose to share it with sequencing buyers who are also on the network.
- Nebula Genomics utilizes next-generation DNA sequencing instruments (Illumina NovaSeq) placed at partnering laboratories to speed the process of sequencing.
You can learn more about Nebula Genomics on their website: https://www.nebulagenomics.io
A similar solution is currently offered by Project SHIVOM.
2. FarmaTrust for pharmaceutical supply chain
- About 30% of pharmaceuticals in circulation are counterfeits causing up to 1MM deaths each year (noted in FarmaTrust’s whitepaper, with reference to https://www.strategyand.pwc.com/reports/counterfeit-pharmaceuticals).
- Although laws exist to enforce and enable traceability of drugs, the requirements are not consistent across countries.
- FarmaTrust provides a secure infrastructure to enable a well-connected supply chain using blockchain technology.
- Backed with with big data machine learning capabilities, FarmaTrust helps identify fake counterfeit and prevent them from entering the consumer market.
You can learn more about FarmaTrust on their website: https://www.farmatrust.io/.
3. Iryo Network
- We, patients, visit many doctors over our lifetime and switch several insurance companies. We may even move from one country to another. With every switch, our medical history remains stagnant with the practitioner.
- The lack of data transfer limits the capability of practitioners and slows the process of identifying solutions to medical problems.
- “The Iryo Network is a global repository of openEHR data.” Patients store their own medical history and can offer (part) access to a researcher or doctor by de-crypting and submitting their data.
- Researches can receive data from patients (who meet their criteria) to conduct their analysis.
- Patients can receive tokens, in exchange, for anonymous participation in research.
You can learn more about Iryo Network on their website: https://iryo.network/
Participation in an ICOs or any type seed-funding bears a lot of risk and is not suited for everyone. That said, we can probably agree that the innovations offered by these three companies are remarkable and a step in the right direction for healthcare and biotech.