Not-for-profit organisation The Pistoia Alliance has expanded its blockchain project to improve data sharing, data identity and data integrity in the life sciences industry.

The new phase of the project will devise practical life science research and development (R&D), use cases that would deliver a clear return on investment (ROI) and identify blockchain applications to offer little value to the industry.

“The new phase of the blockchain project will focus on validating the sources identifying the data, ensuring the integrity of the data, and improving sharing within and between organisations.”

The Pistoia Alliance president Steve Arlington said: “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 realise the value sooner. By working together on this aim, we can ensure that our efforts are not duplicated and that even more stakeholders can benefit.

“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.”

Previously, the organisation carried out efforts to educate the industry about blockchain and support knowledge and skills sharing.

The new phase of the blockchain project will focus on validating the sources identifying the data, ensuring the integrity of the data, and improving sharing within and between organisations.

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A study of life science professionals by the Alliance revealed that access to skilled personnel is the primary challenge for adoption of blockchain, followed by a difficulty in understanding the technology.

Nearly a fifth of the responders said that they believe blockchain does not add value beyond a standard database.

The Pistoia Alliance blockchain project manager and consultant Jake Dreier said: “There are still many misconceptions about blockchain in the life science industry that we need to work hard to overcome.

“Unfortunately, people’s perceptions have led to some organisations completely avoiding blockchain technology, and many others unsure of how it can benefit them.”

The group is working with members to provide education and information in order to address misconceptions. It will additionally run webinars and workshops for supporting those interested in implementing the technology.

Last year, blockchain company Guardtime and industry partners Instant Access Medical and Healthcare Gateway launched MyPCR, the world’s first comprehensive blockchain-supported Personal Care Record Platform.

Additional reporting by Charlotte Edwards.