Gustave Roussy Institut, a major French cancer research center, has entered a strategic partnership with French startup Embleema, which runs a blockchain network for healthcare. The aim is to apply blockchain technology to health data sharing applications for oncology clinical research.
The strategic partnership uses Embleema’s technology to integrate and store health data on a digital exchange. This will enable patients of the Gustave Roussy Institut to have full control over their own data.
The data exchange will be a crucial step in accelerating drug development, as pharmaceutical companies and researchers now have easy access to regulatory-grade data to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of experimental drugs. More importantly, healthcare data will finally become reusable for biological sciences research, taking a shot at breaking the data silo which typically hinders the research and development of new drugs.
“Our partnership with Embleema will define a new ethical model in drug development, so individual healthcare data may be used to further clinical research, in a transparent manner that fully respects patient rights,” said Professor Alexander Eggermont, General Director of the Gustave Roussy Institut.
“Blockchain technology allows real world data to finally be able to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of treatments, and deliver new treatments to patients faster,” he commented.
Embleema CEO Robert Chu explained: “By streamlining the collection and sharing of clinical information, while ensuring patient consent, Embleema aims to accelerate the development of new drugs and improve the real-world data collection of existing marketed drugs.”
Embleema says it has formed a Consortium bringing together patients, advocacy groups, providers, care centers, payers, life sciences companies, and authorities to transform the way digital health data is collected and exchanged. To date the main high profile partner announced is pharmaceutical company, Pierre Fabre.
Hence Gustave Roussy is one of the first centers involved, allowing its patients and researchers to take part in this exchange. The consortium is working towards solutions to standardize these processes, clearly defining what classifies as regulatory-grade ‘Real World Data’.
The Embleema platform uses a private Ethereum blockchain. The technology empowers patients. It does so by maintaining their data sovereignty, while at the same time providing a transparent record of the patient’s medical history.
In July 2018, Embleema launched PatientTruth in the US, which enables patients to construct a consolidated medical record from dispersed records, as well as giving them full control over this data. Individuals can also receive digital tokens by participating in clinical studies. By adapting the technology, Embleema is looking to create a blockchain network for clinical research.
In January 2019, Embleema closed a $3.7 million Series A Funding round led by Pharmagest, alongside joining the TechStars Alchemist Blockchain Accelerator Programme.
Other health data projects
Numerous companies are targeting blockchain and medical data. Some like Nebula Genomics are focused on narrow areas. Hu-manity which has partnered with IBM, has similar aims to Embleema in enabling patients to control their data.
Plus there’s the major healthcare consortium launched by IBM as well as its partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim for clinical trials. Additionally, the major U.S. insurance clearing house Change Healthcare has big blockchain ambitions that extend beyond insurance claims.