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Drug Discovery World
Blockchain technology in drug discovery: use-cases in R&D
By Dr Richard Shute

There is no doubt that the interest and hype around blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) builds daily. The explosion of articles and books recently is testament to this. But what is a blockchain and how might DLT impact healthcare, Pharma and R&D?

Running through the profusion of publications on blockchain technology in the traditional press (1), online (2) and via social media (3), there is a thread that speculates on how DLT will disrupt most, if not all, industries (4) – building out from FinTech and bitcoin (5), which is where blockchain first started, to industries as diverse as diamonds, music and real estate (6). But what is a blockchain? For the sake of this article, which is focused on what you can do with the technology, ie the use-cases, rather than the ‘nuts and bolts’ of what the technology is, a good, relatively digestible definition or description is as follows (7):

“A blockchain is a digital, distributed transaction ledger, with identical copies maintained on multiple computer systems controlled by different entities. Anyone participating in a blockchain can review the entries in it; users can update the blockchain only by consensus of a majority of participants. Once entered into a blockchain, information can never be erased; ideally, a blockchain contains an accurate and verifiable record of every transaction ever made.”....

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