Macrogen, a South-korean DNA sequencing service provider in partnership with Big Data firm Bigster are working to develop a blockchain platform for sharing of genomic information without risk of hacking or infringement of patients’ privacy. The platform is scheduled for launch by June 2019.
Genomic data, recorded in the blockchain, can be used for customized patient diagnosis and treatment, while the pharmaceutical industry can use it for the development of new drugs and therapeutic agents.
Currently, despite the high utilization value of DNA data within healthcare, it is not widely shared due to the sensitive nature of the information to patients and the risk of privacy breaches.
‘Despite the fact that genomic data is widely used, it has not been easy to share it because of the problem of personal information protection. With the blockchain platform we seek to build this time, we expect to create an ecosystem that can freely distribute genetic data,’ Yang Kap-seok, CEO of Macrogen, commented in the release.
Only invited pharmaceutical firms, research institutes, hospitals, and genetic analysis startups will run as nodes on the decentralized network.
Macrogen is not the only company looking to apply blockchain tech within the genomics industry. As early as 2014, Israeli startup DNA.Bits announced plans to store genetic and medical record data using block chain technology.