New Scenery, opportunities and challenges of the blockchain application

How many of you know what blockchain is? A simple question with which Jacopo Montigiani introduced the workshop “Blockchain oltre Bitcoin: una nuova rivoluzione digitale per il mondo life science?” held the 6th of June during the 58° Edition of Simposio AFI. A day full of questions, answers and doubts related to the application of blockchain to the life science world.

Starting from the technical point of view of Sebastian Zdrojewski – CTO Rivoluzione Digitale – that explained blockchain in an easy and clear way: from blockchain definition, pros and cons, different types of technology and real world applications, the workshop moved to another topic “Blockchain application in the Healthcare sector”, held by Lorenzo Mucchi – Professor and Researcher at the University of Florence. To better understand his speech we can mention this quote “Blockchain is not the thing. It’s the thing that enables the thing”: blockchain can bring lots of benefits to the healthcare sector, regarding scalability, access security and data privacy but it cannot be left alone, it always needs to be integrated with the latest researches and technologies.

Understood the basis of blockchain technology and the possible application to Healthcare, what if we link blockchain to a company specialized in advanced therapies: what kind of connections can exist? Michele Desogus – Industrial Operations Director – brought the experience of the company Holostem Terapie Avanzate and the main features of the logistic process of a biological product. When we talk about a biological product we need to take into consideration different factors: a short life shelf, a specific packaging, controlled conditions and a multitude of different actors and different systems that have to communicate with each other. Can blockchain make improvements in the supply chain certification? And, in the communication between different systems? These and other questions came out during his speech, generating a debate between sceptical point of views and more optimistic ones, pointing out how blockchain can respond to the main requests of improvements of supply chain in the life science sector.

In a regulated world like the pharma sector, where quality and integrity are the main values, if we talk about data, Quality Assurance and Computer System Validation are fundamental matters. Can you imagine blockchain applied to a manufacturing process? We did this experiment with Stefano Piccoli – founder of QStep and we saw that important results can be achieved, ensuring unchangeable audit trail and making more efficient GxP Data sharing.

After all these speeches, it was the time to see a real blockchain, to touch with our own hands systems integrated with blockchain technology. Duccio Micela, JSB Software Project Manager with the collaboration of Marco Giacomelli, JSB Software Developer, run two different systems: Contrappunto Software for eCRF management and a Training management software. The application of blockchain shown some clear evidence about the improvement of this software solutions regarding security, scalability and the integration between different systems. Of course, it can still be considered a small achievement for the Life Science sector, but it is definitely an important result that can help to reach even bigger goals.

Showing JSB Blockchain Project closed the series of speeches and gave the opportunity to ask more questions, clarify some doubts and introduce new discussion topics. A day in which blockchain and the application to Life Science had a leading role.