60% of life science organisations are working with blockchain

filling the life sciences skills gap

The Pistoia Alliance, a global, not-for-profit alliance that works to lower barriers to innovation in life sciences R&D, has announced the results of a survey on the adoption of blockchain in the pharmaceutical and life science industries.

According to the survey, 60% of pharmaceutical and life science professionals are either using or experimenting with blockchain currently, compared to 22% when asked in 2017; however, 40% are not currently looking at implementing, or have no plans to implement the technology. The biggest barriers identified to adoption are access to skilled personnel (55%), and that blockchain is too difficult to understand (16%). These factors underline why The Pistoia Alliance is calling for the life science and pharmaceutical industries to collaborate over the development and implementation of blockchain.

The survey also showed that life science and pharmaceutical professionals are becoming more aware of the capabilities of blockchain. Life science and pharmaceutical professionals believe the most significant benefit is the immutability of data (73%). Significantly, for an industry with tight regulations, 39% also believe the transparency of the system is its best feature. 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.

Dr Steve Arlington, President of The Pistoia Alliance, said: “We must ensure that the life science industry has access to the right skills and staff to bring their blockchain projects to fruition, particularly looking to the technology industry to fill the talent gap. This knowledge will be particularly useful for the 18% of life science professionals who admitted to knowing nothing about blockchain.

“The potential to enhance collaboration and, therefore, innovation is huge. Blockchain provides an additional layer of trust for scientists and their organisations. 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. We believe this technology will open up new opportunities for the industry to begin sharing data more securely to advance drug discovery, ultimately making patients’ lives better.”

Dr Richard Shute, consultant for The Pistoia Alliance, commented: “As life science and pharmaceutical organisations are beginning to look at implementing or experimenting with blockchain, The Pistoia Alliance is working hard to inform organisations on how to implement it safely and effectively.

“We are currently focusing on educating scientists and researchers about the potential uses of these technologies outside of the supply chain, particularly in R&D. At The Pistoia Alliance, we want to support our members’ initiatives, as well as provide a secure global forum for partnerships and collaboration.”

Find out more from Pharmafield here: Five ways blockchain is impacting healthcare