With the rise of new technologies such as blockchain and AI, the pragmatic regulatory approach of the Swiss authorities has become an important asset. Swiss laws, unlike those in many other countries, are formulated in a technology-neutral way, which means that companies implementing novel business models and emerging technologies can operate within existing law and enjoy legal certainty. This progressive regulatory environment laid the foundation for the now famous Swiss "Crypto Valley".
Switzerland Global Enterprise | Director Investment Promotion
It all started with a few pioneering crypto entrepreneurs who were looking for a jurisdiction that would allow them to experiment with a new technology – blockchain. Their success attracted like-minded companies, and soon Switzerland’s Crypto Valley had established a worldwide reputation as a catalyst for new blockchain business ventures with a variety of new applications that go far beyond the finance sector.
In the life science industry, Switzerland’s longstanding expertise has produced a strong ecosystem across the entire value chain that has always been attractive to biotech companies. Sources of innovation in this sector increasingly stem from other business models, in particular through the application of processes, databases and data analytics that allow the smart application of therapies or selection of patient groups. This allows more effective and targeted therapies for personalized medicine and more focused drug development. In the following section, the enormous potential of blockchain in the development and funding of healthcare applications is discussed by industry experts.
Dr. Galia Kondova
University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW)
As a member of the Focus Healthcare Team at the School of Business, I conduct research in the area of blockchain applications in healthcare with a focus on self-sovereign identity (SSI). I most recently drafted a use case on the PharmaLedger’s blockchain-enabled electronic product information (ePI) platform that was submitted to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Switzerland was one of the first countries in the world to adopt a legislative framework that facilitates blockchain-based applications in different areas including healthcare. Personally, I believe the greatest potential of blockchain lies in the development of national as well as international platforms for secure and trusted data access management among stakeholders within ecosystems in the healthcare sector. Projects like the PharmaLedger and MedTech Blockchain platforms in Switzerland are promising initiatives in this respect. In addition, the Swiss Blockchain Federation along with the Crypto Valley maintains a database of innovative blockchain companies in Switzerland including in the healthcare sector.
Co-Founder and CEO of Molecule
Molecule is a platform that works to decentralize drug development by positing an alternative or complement to the conventional pharmaceutical funding and R&D model. This alternative is realized by a marketplace, known as Molecule Discovery, that moves early-stage intellectual property into web3 through the IP-NFT - a specific Non Fungible Token pioneered by Molecule. This is coupled with frameworks to build biotech decentralized autonomous organizations or DAOs (such as VitaDAO) and communities which come together to fund research in specific therapeutic areas. These communities consist of patients, researchers, and enthusiasts. Simply put, Molecule, through its DAOs, accelerates the discovery and funding of early-stage therapeutics.
Committed to the foundation of decentralized, collaborative and open-source drug development, Molecule is embracing Switzerland. The advantages of incorporating in Switzerland extend beyond its centrally located presence in Europe, especially for blockchain companies. Molecule is one such company and has taken advantage of what Switzerland has to offer: from a pharmaceutical perspective, a robust and ever-growing biopharma network; and from a legal perspective, progressiveness and vital security.
Co-founder and CEO of D36
At D36.ch, our objective is to act as a vector to enable players in the healthcare market to use digital technology to deploy solutions leading to personalized medicine. The healthcare of the future is P4 medicine (medicine that is predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory) and we believe Switzerland has the potential to be one of the driving forces for this revolution in healthcare. Switzerland not only has leading medical institutions and major pharma companies, but innovation led by biotech and medtech SMEs, as well as the large private insurance companies engaging in digital offerings for their customers and potential patients.
We have partnered with Intellias (https://d36.intellias.healthcare/) in our ambition to deliver software solutions to the industry with access to top engineering talent and experience.
One of the major hurdles to deploying P4 medicine is related to security concerns and data privacy. This can be addressed by applying blockchain solutions that act as immutable notary ledgers ensuring compliance and responsibility from all participants in the exchange of this information. Anonymity allows data from different institutions to be collected and large-scale models to be run, benefiting scientific research developing targeted therapies. This impossibility of linking personal information to the data for these studies is based on a trustless’ system that enables collaboration between different healthcare providers to run big data analysis and develop machine learning models. By combinations of on-chain and off-chain data storage, solutions can be designed to link data to patients for authorities in case of need and to abide by state/industry regulations.
Co-Founder Verum Capital
Verum Capital AG, a Web3 venture builder, is working with RoxPharm, a technology-focused company, to fully capitalize on blockchain’s capabilities, including the increased security that comes with self-custody and the increased returns that are seen with Decentralized Finance( DeFi).
This collaboration is helping to connect the pharmaceutical and life sciences sector with the blockchain space to create new opportunities for investors. In 2022, RoxPharm will focus on using blockchain technology to fractionalize royalty deals, making them accessible to new types of investors and enabling alternative financing for pharmaceutical companies.
According to RoxPharm CEO, David Klingenbeck: “Currently, direct investment into license deals is only feasible for a small selection of players - pharmaceutical companies or specialized investment companies. We want to make them available to all investors, including retail investors.”
Applied Technology Innovation Manager at Novartis and PharmaLedger Lead-Architect
Supply Chain Domain Architect at Novartis and PharmaLedger Industry Lead
PharmaLedger is a 36-month project that brings together 12 global pharmaceutical companies and 17 public and private entities, including technical, legal, regulatory, academia, research, and patient representative organizations. The goal of the project is to provide a widely trusted platform that supports the design and adoption of blockchain-enabled healthcare solutions while accelerating delivery of innovation that benefits the entire ecosystem, from manufacturers to patients. As part of PharmaLedger, eight use cases have been developed to showcase the huge potential.
The idea behind PharmaLedger was sparked in late 2017 during a conference in Switzerland. Crypto Valley with all the innovative and creative startups, the various universities with blockchain centers of excellence and the strong community around blockchain topics in Switzerland is a key element to create and foster ideas and bring them to life. Not only at the beginning of our journey with PharmaLedger, but especially during the ups and downs of such a huge undertaking, it was and still is extremely helpful to tap into such a large and diverse pool of experts to discuss and solve problems.
PharmaLedger as a project comes to an end in 2022 and prepares for sustainability and exploitation of the future potential. The Blockchain network in Switzerland and across the world is very inspiring to think about new ways of governance between classic and completely decentralized approaches. We can learn from others, but we can also give back a lot. This is what makes it so exciting.