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Blockchain in Drug Discovery and Clinical Trials

Blockchain in Drug Discovery and Clinical Trials Market Share, Size, Trends and Analysis by 2023-2035

Blockchain Technology – A new Paradigm in Data Storage and Maintenance

Over the years, the blockchain technology also referred to as distributed ledger technology has proven to be a versatile tool for decentralized monetary transactions and data exchange in various industries, including healthcare. Several stakeholders in healthcare have adopted blockchain for various operations, including maintenance of patient records, while ensuring privacy and security as the records are stored on a network, recruiting patients for trials and providing transparency and traceability in the supply chain.

Gradually, blockchain technology has disclosed unprecedented opportunities in this sector by unlocking significant advantages.

The term blockchain refers to the way it stores transaction data in blocks that are linked to form a chain. Since every entry is stored as a block on the chain, the length of the chain increases as more transactions are recorded and stored. This digital ledger technology was developed in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto. It is designed in such a way that transactions are immutable, which means that digital information, or transactions records can be recorded and distributed but cannot be altered, deleted or destroyed.

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The concept of utilizing blockchain platforms for drug data management and drug trackability has gained significant attention from several stakeholders and companies in the past few years. Despite the advantages offered by such platforms in the management of data and data security, there are certain challenges associated with the use of blockchain.

In addition to the aforementioned advantages, blockchain has gained popularity across various other fields, including education, finance, transportation and telecom. Due to multiple advantages across diverse application areas, including enhanced safety, security, and data management, blockchain technologies have evolved significantly and continuously transformed the industrial landscape.

Owing to various advantages offered by blockchain, its popularity has invariably grown. Specifically, it has made a considerable impact in the healthcare sector, as it has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare sector by overcoming the existing challenges. One of the features of blockchain is that it lets organizations establish transparency and privacy, helping to conceal sensitive patient data while enabling access and sharing when necessary.

In the future, blockchain technology may aid in the provision of personalized, authentic, and reliable clinical trial services by combining up-to-date and secure patient data with other emerging technologies.  Considering the fact that blockchain technology is already employed in healthcare and various other industries, additional efforts and initiatives will allow the industries to leverage the full potential of blockchain technology.

Blockchain Technology Providers – Market Landscape

The term blockchain refers to the way it stores transaction data in blocks that are linked to form a chain. During our research, we were able to identify the presence of over 50 players that are engaged in providing blockchain technology across various drug development applications.

Majority of the blockchain technology providers (60%) engaged in this domain were established post-2015. This is indicative of the growing interest of stakeholders in this domain. Examples of recently established companies include (post-2020, in alphabetical order) Blockchain BioPharma (2020), PharmaLedger (2020) and ServBlock (2021). Further, 41% companies have entered this domain before 2016, indicating that the market is driven by efforts of well-established players as well. Examples of some prominent players include (in decreasing order of experience) IBM (1911), Infosys (1981), Tech Mahindra (1986) and Alten Calsoft Labs (1992).

Further, the current market landscape is dominated by the presence of small companies (39%). Notable examples include (in alphabetical order) Akiri, BurstIQ, Crystal chain, CSBWG, Farmatrust and Triall. This is followed by mid-sized players (27%); examples include (in alphabetical order) Blockcube, Chronicled, Clinlogix, Guardtime, Innoplexus and VeChain.

Relative Competitiveness of Blockchain Technology Providers

In this analysis, we have presented a detailed competitiveness analysis of the blockchain technology providers based in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Rest of the World. The companies considered in this analysis have been scored on various relevant parameters, such as supplier strength (in terms of number of years since it was established), portfolio diversity (this parameter evaluates a company’s capabilities based on the type of drug development applications of company’s blockchain, applications within clinical trial management and end-users.), portfolio strength (this parameter evaluates a company’s capabilities based on the type of blockchain).

The primary purpose of this analysis was to develop a better understanding of the overall potential and capabilities of companies involved in this domain. In addition, it provides a reliable framework for geographical benchmarking of the capabilities of industry stakeholders.

The following approach was adopted to compare the capabilities of various companies that are engaged in this domain:

  • As a starting point, we collated information on the aforementioned parameters for 52 companies that presently claim to offer blockchain technology for drug discovery and clinical trials, and thus, were considered in this analysis.
  • These companies were then segregated on the basis of their geographical location into three peer groups, namely North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific and RoW.
  • We then calculated the scores for supplier strength (Px), portfolio diversity (Py) and portfolio strength (Pz), for various blockchain technology providers.
  • Based on these scores, competitiveness of blockchain technology providers, across different regions, was presented in the form of three-dimensional bubble charts, with supplier strength on abscissa and portfolio diversity on the ordinate. Further, the size of the bubble was varied based on the portfolio strength.

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According to our proprietary scoring criteria, Innoplexus and Sunny Lake have emerged to be relatively superior, in terms of portfolio diversity. Both the firms offer blockchain technology for use across various drug development applications, including drug discovery and clinical trial management applications. Further, Innoplexus offers these applications to three end users (healthcare industry, pharmaceutical industry and government organizations).

In addition, it provides advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain solutions that support all stages of drug development, from pipeline to market. In terms of supplier strength, Guardtime with nearly 15 years of experience, has emerged to be the leading player.

Several Partnerships Have Been Inked in this Domain, Since 2017

During our research, we came across several partnerships that have been inked by various stakeholders engaged in providing blockchain across various drug development applications, during the period 2017-2022 (till September).

It is worth mentioning that the number of partnerships inked in this domain has increased over time, growing at a CAGR of 63% during the period 2017-2021. This can be attributed to the fact that blockchain is evolving with time, along with the significant interest of stakeholders in this domain.

It is important to highlight that the maximum number of partnerships inked in the year 2021, were platform utilization agreements (42%). This can be primarily attributed to the fact that majority of the stakeholders engaged in this domain utilize another company’s proprietary blockchain platform in their regular workflow.

Further, it can be observed from the figure, majority (35%) of the partnerships in this domain were inked for clinical trials, followed by deals inked for pharmaceutical supply chain (24%). Notable examples of deals inked for clinical trials include (in reverse chronological order) collaborations between Triall and LTO Network (September 2022), Triall and Sphereon (September 2022), Triall and Mayo Clinic (September 2022), and SusMed and Aculys Pharma (July 2022).

In addition, more than 40% of the deals signed within this domain were intracontinental agreements, inked between companies based in North America. Further, in terms of intercontinental agreements, players based in Europe have actively collaborated with companies headquartered in North America.

As is evident from the figure, most of the partnership agreements related to blockchain were inked between industry players (90%) engaged in this domain. Notable examples of non-industry players that were involved in multiple collaborations include (in alphabetic order) International Trade Association, Mayo Clinic, and Mongolian Government.

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The study presents an in-depth analysis, highlighting the capabilities of various stakeholders engaged in this domain, across different geographies. Amongst other elements, the report includes:

  • An executive summary of the insights captured during our research. It offers a high-level view on the current state of blockchain in drug discovery and clinical trials market and its likely evolution in the short to mid and long term.
  • A general overview of blockchain technology, along with information on its types and applications across various industries. It also highlights the applications of blockchain, specifically in drug discovery and clinical trials. Further, the chapter features a discussion on the challenges, key growth drivers, and future perspectives associated with the use of blockchain in drug discovery and clinical trials.
  • A detailed assessment of the overall market landscape of companies offering blockchain technology for  drug discovery and clinical trials, based on several relevant parameters, such as year of establishment, company size (in terms of number of employees), location of headquarters, type of blockchain(s) (public blockchain, private blockchain, and consortium blockchain), type of drug development application(s) (drug discovery, intellectual property management, electronic health record management, vaccine distribution, drug authenticity, drug supply chain, drug data management, clinical trial management, and electronic signatures), application(s) within clinical trial management (operational excellence, predictive analysis, site investigation, patient recruitment retention, vendor management, patient data management, risk based monitoring, and data visualization), and type of end-user(s) (healthcare industry, pharmaceutical industry, and government organizations).
  • A detailed competitiveness analysis of blockchain technology providers based on supplier strength (in terms of the years of experience), portfolio diversity (in terms of type of drug development application(s), application(s) within clinical trial management and type of end-user(s)), and portfolio strength (in terms of type of blockchain(s)).
  • Elaborate profiles of key players providing blockchain platforms for drug discovery applications. Each profile includes a brief overview of the company, financial information (if available), details on application areas of proprietary platform, recent developments and an informed future outlook.
  • A detailed analysis of recent partnerships inked between stakeholders engaged in this domain, since 2017, based on several relevant parameters, such as year of partnership, type of partnership, most active players (in terms of number of partnerships and type of partnership), type of drug development applications, type of partner, regional analysis, intercontinental and intracontinental agreements.  
  • A detailed review of over 500 peer-reviewed, scientific articles focused on blockchain in the pharmaceutical industry, based on several relevant parameters, such as year of publication, type of article, popular publishers, popular copyright holders and keywords. The chapter also highlights the top journals, in terms of number of articles published and impact factor.
  • A discussion on affiliated trends, key drivers, and challenges under a SWOT framework, featuring a Harvey ball analysis, highlighting the relative impact of each SWOT parameter on the overall blockchain in drug discovery and clinical trials market.
  • A case study highlighting the applications of blockchain across various industries, such as healthcare, banking and financial, automotive, education, telecom, transportation and travel industries, and its likely evolution in the foreseen future.

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