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13 February 2019Americas

Boehringer Ingelheim teams up with IBM to explore blockchain

The Canadian units of IBM and pharmaceutical company  Boehringer Ingelheim have united to explore the use of blockchain technology in clinical trials.

Announced yesterday, February 12, the cooperation marks the first time that blockchain technology will be explored in a clinical trial setting in Canada, according to Boehringer Ingelheim.

The partnership aims to test whether blockchain technology in clinical trials provides a decentralised framework, enabling data integrity and transparency, in addition to patient empowerment and automation of processes.

Regulatory authorities have found that clinical trial records are often erroneous or incomplete and that the processes to ensure the quality of these trials are frequently inadequate, according to Boehringer Ingelheim.

The pharmaceutical company added that there is a significant opportunity to improve the quality of clinical trial processes and record keeping.

Uli Brödl, vice president of medical and regulatory affairs at Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada), said: “The clinical trial ecosystem is highly complex as it involves different stakeholders, resulting in limited trust, transparency and process inefficiencies without true patient empowerment.

“Patients are at the heart of everything we do, so we are looking into novel solutions to improve patient safety and empowerment.”

Claude Guay, general manager of IBM Services at IBM Canada, added that the technology company has used blockchain in other industries.

“We are now investigating how we can use this technology to give Canadian patients the same level of security and trust when it comes to their personal health information,” said Guay.

In November last year, sister site WIPR  reported that IBM was exploring how blockchain technologies can generate “electronic fingerprints” which can be used to reduce the counterfeiting of hard drives, in collaboration with data storage firm Seagate Technology.

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14 November 2018   Technology company IBM is seeking to patent the use of blockchain in open scientific research, including experiments, data collection, and analysis.
Big Pharma
30 May 2019   German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim has entered into a second licence and collaboration agreement with Danish biotech company Gubra for the development of an obesity treatment.
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