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Pistoia Alliance to Use Blockchain for Life Sciences Data Sharing

The Pistoia Alliance is aiming to enhance data sharing and data integrity for the life sciences with blockchain technology.

Pistoia Alliance to use blockchain for life sciences data sharing

Source: Thinkstock

By Jessica Kent

- The Pistoia Alliance, a global, non-profit alliance of life sciences stakeholders, has launched the next phase of its blockchain project, in which members will examine how blockchain can improve data identity, data integrity, and data sharing.

This newest chapter of the project will focus on the development of practical life science research and develop use cases that deliver clear return on investment (ROI), as well as identifying applications of blockchain that will offer little value to the industry.

“The Pistoia Alliance has always been led by its members on which industry issues to focus on, and blockchain is becoming increasingly relevant to our community – from start-ups, to big pharma, to technology service providers,” said Dr. Steve Arlington, President of The Pistoia Alliance.

“We believe blockchain has an important role to play in the life science sector and want to solidify use cases now so the whole industry can realize the value sooner.”

Deriving value from blockchain is still a challenge for healthcare, pharmaceutical, and life sciences stakeholders. In 2018, Pistoia Alliance researchers asked life sciences professionals what they believed were the biggest barriers to blockchain adoption.

Fifty-five percent said access to skilled personnel, and 16 percent said blockchain is too difficult to understand. Nearly a fifth said they believe blockchain adds no value beyond a traditional database.

“There are still many misconceptions about blockchain in the life science industry that we need to work hard to overcome,” said Jake Dreier, Blockchain Project Manager and Consultant for The Pistoia Alliance.

“Unfortunately, people’s perceptions have led to some organizations completely avoiding blockchain technology, and many others unsure of how it can benefit them. This is why the Pistoia Alliance is supporting a collaborative effort to help the industry get the most out of the technology.”

The Pistoia Alliance is working with members to provide education and information that will address these misconceptions.  The group will also offer webinars and workshops that will support those interested in implementing the technology.

This will include a workshop in London that is open to members and non-members, during which the Pistoia Alliance will aim to develop at least one of the potential use cases to the proof-of-concept phase.

“We want companies to come together to workshop their issues and ideas to decide where blockchain can provide a viable solution,” said Dreier.

“We’re not trying to shoehorn a blockchain solution into every industry problem, but rather working to support its development where the technology truly adds value to the industry and ultimately, to patients’ care.”

This next phase of the Pistoia Alliance will seek to advance the use of blockchain technology in the life sciences industry.

“By working together on this aim, we can ensure that our efforts are not duplicated and that even more stakeholders can benefit,” Arlington concluded.

“Much of the industry is still at the ‘discussion’ stage of blockchain. We want to move beyond this and take action that actively supports members and leads to tangible outcomes that will benefit R&D, accelerate innovation and support the discovery of new treatments.”

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