Pfizer and Genentech Turn To Ethereum Blockchain

Major pharmaceutical conglomerates Pfizer and Genentech, together constituting a market cap greater than $300 billion, recently announced the MediLedger blockchain platform, powered by JP Morgan's enterprise-focused, Ethereum-based Quorum, designed to keep counterfeit goods out of medical supply chains.

The MediLedger project is slated to go through various pilot tests in the coming months that simulate marketplace supply-chain conditions of both Genentech and Pfizer. Of key importance is finding a means to scale the system rationally to suit the needs of both pharma giants, the supply chains of which are sizeable and must consistently handle millions of data points.

In July of 2017, blockchain startup Chronicled, in partnership with the supply chain consulting company The LinkLab, completed a pilot test of a blockchain-based system for medical supply chains as reported by ETHNews. Now Pfizer is ready to hand the reigns of platform development of the MediLedger project to The LinkLab and Chronicled.

Chronicled CEO Ryan Orr described MediLedger as a permissioned blockchain that takes into account a necessity to form consensus among counterparties, each of which will control a node to maintain an immutable, transparent, and ubiquitous deployment of data to the system. Orr said, "The pharma industry consists of large conservative companies, so it takes a lot of confidence to build up a network like this."

According to Orr, outdated centralized data processing methods may be susceptible to security vulnerabilities that could result in a loss of important and often valuable data.

By way of the Ethereum-based system of provenance that is in development by Chronicled and The LinkLab, pharmaceutical manufacturers can identify defective pills before they enter supply chains, thanks to cryptographic timestamps.

Describing Genentech's focus on safety, vice president of Managed Care and Operations Marc Watrous affirmed:

"Ensuring the safety of people receiving our medicines is of utmost importance to us. We look forward to exploring the potential benefits that this pilot could provide in protecting our medicines across the entire supply chain."