Boehringer Ingelheim, IBM Canada Partner To Integrate Blockchain Into Clinical Trials

News | February 13, 2019 By:

Canada based pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim is collaborating with IBM Canada to explore the use of blockchain technology in clinical trials.

Boehringer Ingelheim is a research-driven pharmaceutical company that aims to improve the health and quality of life of patients. Headquartered in Ingelheim, it operates globally with 146 affiliates and more than 47,700 employees. The company’s key areas of interest are: respiratory diseases, metabolism, immunology, oncology and diseases of the central nervous system.

Boehringer Ingelheim’s collaboration with IBM underscores its commitment to healthcare innovation and marks the first time that blockchain technology will be explored in a clinical trial setting in Canada. The two companies will test whether blockchain technology in clinical trials provides a decentralized framework that enables data integrity, provenance, transparency, and patient empowerment as well as automation of processes. The ultimate goal is to improve trial quality and patient safety at reduced cost.

“Our guiding philosophy is to bring value to patients and the healthcare system through innovation,” said Dr. Uli Brödl, Vice President, Medical and Regulatory Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim. “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.”

IBM Canada, which provides academic researchers, small and large business, startups and developers with business strategies and computing tools they need to innovate, will bring its core blockchain technologies to the project to provide trust and transparency around the complex trial process. IBM’s blockchain technology provides patient consent, secure health data exchange and patient engagement.

“IBM is excited to collaborate with Boehringer Ingelheim to explore how blockchain technology could help improve the quality of clinical trials,” said Claude Guay, General Manager, IBM Services, IBM Canada. “We’ve been using blockchain in other industries, and 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.”