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Nebula Genomics and Longenisis, two leading firms in artificial intelligence and blockchain technology for healthcare, are developing a platform for the storage and exchange of genomic data, according to an announcement May 15. According to the release, they also aim to establish a new research field of “life data economics.”
Nebula Genomics is a San Francisco-based biotechnical company that uses blockchain to “build a marketplace” for clinical data. Longenesis is a Hong Kong-based partnership between Insilico Medicine and the Bitfury Group, which makes blockchain platforms for the exchange of health data.
The partners said they would apply artificial intelligence and blockchain technology to create a platform for individuals and biobanks to store, manage, and control access to genomic and other health data, including laboratory results. Researchers would be able to buy access to this data in a secure environment.
“By allowing individuals and large data providers such as biobanks to maintain ownership of their genomic data on our platform and profit from it, Nebula Genomics seeks to incentivize generation of genomic data. In doing so, we will gather the data on a single network where it can be conveniently and securely accessed by researchers. In other words, we will make a marketplace that will create an equitable and efficient economy for genomic data.”
Longenesis, which itself is a partnership between Insilico Medicine, an AI company, and the Bitfury Group, a blockchain technology company, offers a similar online environment that instead of genomics focuses on longitudinal health data. “Our platforms complement one another very well,” Church said.
The new partners said they would break down some of the silos that have long hindered this kind of data movement, brokering, and usage.
“Currently, acquiring genomic data is a slow and costly process, because researchers at pharma and biotech companies have to manually inquire about data availability, negotiate prices, sign contracts, and make payments. We will use smart contracts to automate data acquisition and make it several orders of magnitude faster,” Nebula Genomics Chief Security Officer and Cofounder Dennis Grishin said in a statement.
Earlier this month, a US-based life science research marketplace Scientist.com revealed a new blockchain platform called DataSmart. The blockchain-powered platform is reportedly designed to track and protect pharmaceutical data.
In April, US healthcare giant UnitedHealth Group announced a blockchain deployment to keep records up to date. The initiative aims to examine “how sharing data across health care organizations on blockchain technology can improve data accuracy, streamline administration and improve access to care.”