Blockchain technologies look set to find a happy home in life science industries, according to a survey by non-profit The Pistoia Alliance.
The survey of 123 senior pharmaceutical and life science professionals found that 22% were already using or experimenting with blockchain.
Significantly, 83% of those surveyed thought that there would be widespread adoption of the technology across the industry over the next five years.
Life sciences is currently experiencing a surge in data, thanks in large part to the growth in personal genomics, sequencing power and ancestry services. This has created the need for more robust storage and security solutions with regards to personal data.
At the same time, personal data is needed to help with disease and medical research.
A changing sector
Despite the potential advantages blockchain could have with regards to data storage and transparency, the survey highlighted a number of current obstacles to adoption:
- 45% cited regulatory issues
- 26% cited consumer concerns over data privacy
Another potential use for blockchain is adding an auditable trail to the pharmaceutical supply chain. 68% of respondents claimed to believe that the technology will have the biggest impact in this area.
60% said that they think it is likely that blockchain will be used to store medical records.
Nick Lynch, consultant at The Pistoia Alliance, highlighted another important possibility:
“In the future, patients will even have the possibility of monetising access to their personal data, giving individual companies access to ‘blocks’ of their data for research purposes.
“This shift – where patients have access to and control over how their data is used – is changing the entire model of healthcare from early R&D all the way to frontline delivery.
“Ultimately, patients will want to manage their personal data the way they manage their bank accounts. The life sciences industry must collaboratively explore solutions that enable patients to do this, while ensuring they retain access to data for their own R&D efforts.”
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