Three-fifths of life science professionals taking blockchain seriously

September 28, 2018
Chris Wheal

Not-for-profit organisation The Pistoia Alliance (TPA) claims 60% of pharma and life science professionals are taking blockchain seriously. 

The TPA’s new survey claims the majority of pharma and life science professionals are either using or experimenting with blockchain, compared to 22% when asked in 2017. Almost a 300% rise. 

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Skilled blockchain talent is needed across the Pharma sector and sooner not later

“However, 40% are not currently looking at implementing, or have no plans to implement blockchain,” says the TPA. “The biggest barriers identified to adoption are access to skilled blockchain personnel (55%), and that blockchain is too difficult to understand (16%).” 

TPA is calling for the life science and pharmaceutical industries to collaborate over the development and implementation of blockchain and are concerned about a possible talent gap. 

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“Blockchain provides an additional layer of trust for scientists and their organisations,” says Dr Steve Arlington, President of TPA.

He adds: “We hope the security benefits of the technology help to lessen reticence over sharing and transferring data or information, and will facilitate further cross-industry collaboration and knowledge sharing.”

Arlington believes blockchain will open up opportunities for the industry to begin sharing data more securely to advance drug discovery, “ultimately making patients’ lives better”.

Blockchain applications vary massively across the life sciences field

Respondents believe the greatest opportunities for using blockchain lie in the medical supply chain (30%), electronic medical records (25%), clinical trials management (20%), and scientific data sharing (15%). Of the benefits of blockchain, life science and pharmaceutical professionals believe the most significant is the immutability of data (73%).

“Significantly, for an industry with tight regulations, 39% also believe the transparency of the blockchain system is its best feature,” says the TPA.

“However, almost one fifth (18%) of professionals believe using blockchain adds no value beyond a traditional database, showing there is some reluctance in the industry to use the technology.”

The TPA says some of the misconceptions about blockchain can be overcome with greater education.

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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