WuXi NextCODE today launched what it said was the world's first blockchain-enabled health databank, LifeCODE.ai, and an app designed to enable users to access the databank from their smartphones.
LifeCODE.ai is designed to solve the legality and effectiveness of large-scale health data collection by applying blockchain technology, while protecting individual privacy, according to WuXi NextCODE. Following anonymization, user data is encrypted and stored multiple times, ensuring that data is secure and cannot be accessed without user specific authorization.
Each time the data is manipulated, it will be recorded in a non-tamperable blockchain, allowing users to trace and control data security at any time, the company said.
LifeCODE.ai is designed to maximize efficiency in medical record keeping by integrating data search, intelligent transaction, distributed accounting, and cloud computing. The databank aggregates and mines scattered health data, and is designed for both individual and enterprise users, WuXi Next CODE said.
The app, LaiYin Tribe, has versions usable on the Apple or Android platforms.
“LifeCODE.ai data bank uses blockchain and big data technology to bridge gaps between user health data and research institutions to provide optimal health data matching and analysis,” WuXi NextCODE CEO Rob Brainin said in a statement. “We will also integrate more health service partners and individual users into the LifeCODE.ai ecosystem, to fully realize the data value and drive development in the larger healthcare industry.”
Added John Gu, WuXi NextCODE’s Chief Digital Officer: “We will continue to focus on technology evolution and explore the business applications of cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain.”
LifeCODE.ai was unveiled at the 2018 TechCrunch Summit in Hangzhou, China.
Attending the product launch were Gang Chen, Ph.D., co-founder and CTO of personal genome service company WeGene; YaoZhou Shi, Ph.D., co-founder and COO of SinoTech Genomics, a precision medicine integrated solution company; and Prof. Duan Tao, former director of the Shanghai First Maternal and Infant Health Hospital, the founder of Spring Field Hospital Management.
Growing Chinese Interest
Blockchain is a technology of growing interest in China. Earlier this year, according to a May 31 report in state-owned China Daily, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released a 2018 White Paper on China's Blockchain Industry that showed 456 companies were focused on blockchain as their major business as of the end of March.
Of those companies, 175 were located in Beijing, 95 in Shanghai—where Cambridge, MA-based WuXi NextCODE has offices—and 56 in Shenzhen.
China Daily cited World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) data showing that China was the world’s leader in the filing of blockchain patents in 2017, with more than half of the global total coming from the country. China originated 225 international patent applications focused on blockchain last year, followed by the U.S. with 91 filings, and Australia with 13.
WIPO also reported that about 41% of Chinese startups that received investment during the first quarter of last year were involved in blockchain.
Among Chinese companies, internet giant Alibaba Group, whose chairman is billionaire Jack Ma, topped the field with 43 applications. Ma is a co-founder of Chinese private equity firm Yunfeng Capital, a member of the consortium that completed WuXi NextCODE’s $240 million Series B financing in September 2017.
" We plan to continue to push the leading edge of technology for digitizing, managing and analyzing genomic big data, including through our pathbreaking AI, and to put it at the service of ever more enterprises, institutions, and individuals around the world," Hannes Smarason, CEO of WuXi NextCODE, stated at the time.
In May, Chinese President Xi Jinping—who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission—included blockchain among several new technologies that he said
“A new generation of information technology represented by artificial intelligence, quantum information, mobile communication, Internet of Things, and blockchain [emphasis added] accelerates breakthrough applications,” Xi said, addressing the combined 19th Academician Conference of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and 14th Academician Conference of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, according to a transcript published by state news agency Xinhua and translated via Google Translate.