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What is BlockRx?
BlockRx is concerned with securing the Pharma supply chain, and improving health outcomes. The manufacture of a single medicine from raw materials to retail involves multiple companies that use their own enterprise resource planning (ERP) software; each one is subject to a variety of national regulatory frameworks; each one values secrecy at all levels of the business. Consequently, drug manufacturers are siloed and cannot access the data required to combat counterfeit drug sales. Regulators have recognized this and have passed “track and trace” laws set to come into effect in 2018 that will impact raw material suppliers, manufacturers, third-party logistics, wholesalers, and pharmacies. Since these companies are so siloed, blockchain is a natural fit. We aim to build an incentivized, protocol-agnostic blockchain solution.
BlockRx is unique on three fronts. First is the introduction of the BlockRx Token to incentivize and offset the costs of implementing the blockchain. One of the main complaints we heard from pharma companies, while developing our solution over the last 3 years, has been the cost of remaining compliant. With the BlockRx Token, they will be able to offset these costs, while also incentivizing patients. The next unique feature is that we are blockchain agnostic. We are partnered with Intel and launching with the Hyperledger Sawtooth because it is currently the most robust enterprise-level Blockchain solution available. However, if participants wish to use another Blockchain platform, they are free to do so. Lastly, we permit companies to define what data is relevant to meet the track and trace regulations. This means companies do not need to change their existing processes and can accommodate sensors, barcodes, serial numbers, internal ERP-generated codes, etc. This also guarantees future-proofing with respect to evolving business processes as IoT and AI play more prominent roles in drug supply chain management.
Finally, we have an aggressive plan to incentivize patient participation. This will help Pharma companies with patient engagement, something they recognize is lacking. In turn, patients can receive BlockRx Tokens as rewards that can be used to drive down the cost of their healthcare.
— Dr. Robert J. Panetta, Director of Pharmaceutical Solutions
ICO Alert: How does the BlockRX token (BKRx) function within the platform and why is it needed? Could iSolve build their service on pre-existing blockchain projects?
BlockRx: The whole ecosystem is built on three parts: the blockchain, ADLT, and the BlockRx Token. The blockchain is obvious, and we went with Hyperledger’s Sawtooth by Intel because it is the most robust enterprise-level blockchain out there, and Intel’s Healthcare group was interested in working with us, which doesn’t hurt the project at all. We should note that the Ecosystem is designed to be blockchain agnostic, so yes, it can work on pre-existing platforms. ADLT is the go-between legacy ERP systems and the blockchain. The BlockRx Token is what enables exchange in the Ecosystem — parties will need it to access information, and it is the basis for the development of a data economy, which we believe will bring more clarity to the entire supply chain. For example, say a manufacturer wants to know what happens to its product after it leaves the factory (so we are looking at packaging, shipping, retail, and consumption). Right now that data is either non-existent, or available only through general, industry-wide market overviews.
ICO Alert: What is iSolve and what is the Advanced Digital Ledger Technology (ADLT) that is being brought to the project?
BlockRx: In 2014, GPMS, a Pharma and finance consultancy, spun off iSolve LLC to work on blockchain solutions for the Pharma industry. ADLT, or Advanced Digital Ledger Technology, has been in development by iSolve. ADLT can retrieve data from an existing ERP system, batch and hash it depending on rules set by the client, and integrate that hashed data to the blockchain. On the flip side, when someone wants to access Blockchain data, ADLT is what they will use to find it, and transcribe it to a usable format. So ADLT is the go-between to an existing data management system and the blockchain. It is what allows Pharma companies to retain their legacy systems, while also modernizing with the blockchain.
ICO Alert: What benefits to patients does BlockRx bring that the traditional healthcare space does not? Does the use of BlockRx allow for cheaper medicine, or are the benefits geared towards pharmaceutical companies?
BlockRx: Right now, patients do not control their own data, and very often some other entity can legally claim “ownership” of an individual’s data, including health records or data coming from IoT sensors, including wearables. In the BlockRx Pharma Ecosystem, individuals are incentivized to participate through the ability to earn BlockRx Tokens in exchange for their data — which can be in the form of wearables, and smart packaging informing healthcare providers of adherence to dosing or even access to certain parts of de-identified health records, in addition to earning Tokens for participating in clinical trials. These tokens can in turn be used to reduce the costs of medicines, co-pays, insurance premiums, etc. So what the Ecosystem will permit for individuals is more control over their information, as well as reducing the cost of their healthcare.
ICO Alert: BlockRx seems to be highly dependent on partnerships in the pharmaceutical space. What partnerships have been made thus far that will help secure the success of BlockRx?
BlockRx: Our BlockRx Project partner list stands at around 80. Our partners include some highly established Pharma industry service providers, including Intel, YourEncore, and TechMahindra. Pharma industry service providers have no issue being named as partners because it lets the Pharma companies know they are innovating in an attempt to drive down costs and improve efficiency. Pharma companies, however, are tougher to get to announce publicly. As an industry, they really value secrecy and this includes business practice. They would never allow their competition to know what’s giving them an edge, so they rarely announce major initiatives that they are seriously planning to undertake. We’ve been working on this project for three years and our strategic partnerships have been an instrumental part of our growth. We initially started the Direct Partner Channel with an outreach to manufacturers, wholesalers, dispensaries, and so on. And now we have started to engage retailers and healthcare providers. We will be announcing the partners for our pilot projects in the coming weeks, while the ICO is going on. But don’t expect any details on the solution offering.
ICO Alert: In some countries, healthcare is provided in majority or fully by the government in some form. Does regulation affect BlockRx and how does BlockRx plan to navigate government regulation? Or will the focus strictly be on the areas where regulation does not inhibit the use of BlockRx?
BlockRx: National regulations are a key component to many supply chains, none more so than Pharma. With respect to the Pharma supply chain, we have to keep in mind that regulation is a big reason why blockchain is even being considered by the space. First, this is a solution born of regulation, with the U.S. FDA and EU calling for traceability across the supply chain. In terms of transnational regulation, smart contracts will be able to sort that out, and we will have to ensure, with our partners, that their solution is very well audited and adheres to any national regulations there may be. On the patient side, things can be a little more complicated. Most all jurisdictions have privacy standards, such as HIPAA in the U.S., so patient data will need to be de-identified. In terms of actually using the Token to pay down medical costs, every country will have different targets and use-cases on what patients can actually use the BlockRx Token for. In the U.S., all facets of healthcare are fair game. Other jurisdictions may be limited to insurance. We’ll have to see as the Ecosystem grows to incorporate patients in 2018.
ICO Alert: What are some different use cases that the team foresees existing within the ecosystem being created?
BlockRx: The first use case is obviously securing the Pharma supply chain. This is just one end of the healthcare industry continuum, and during 2018 we will develop and launch the BlockRx patient app in conjunction with our healthcare and retail partners so we can better integrate the supply of medicines with health outcomes. In that same line, we have discussed the possibility of improving patient recruitment for clinical trials, securing R&D data that goes between collaborators, and dealing with un-sanctioned cross-border transactions, also known as parallel trade.
ICO Alert: BlockRx is planning to build a blockchain capable of handling 100,000 transactions per day, built on the Sawtooth distributed ledger. Why not use a blockchain that exists today versus building your own? What advantages does Sawtooth bring?
BlockRx: The number one reason for using Sawtooth is that, with its implementation, we are getting support from Intel and its Life Sciences Division. The second reason is that with our own blockchain, we can create our own governance model agreed upon by the stakeholders and regulatory agencies. Finally, because of the modular architecture of Sawtooth, it gives us the flexibility to swap out components; for example, the consensus protocol may need to evolve over time to better meet the unique requirements and regulations of the Pharma industry, as well as the multiple smaller chains within the supply chain. Our architecture meets the challenges within the Pharma supply chain and also gives us the ability to create a network that incentivizes participants, lowers the cost of implementing new technology, and will make the Pharma blockchain self-sustainable with zero fees for transactions over time.
ICO Alert: How far along is the project today? What does the roadmap look like for the rest of 2017 and 2018?
BlockRx: Over the immediate term, we plan to close out the ICO and get back to work on the solution. Specifically, we have two pilot projects with partners in manufacturing and retail ready to start by Q4 2017, and a number of projects that are currently in the exploration phase which we expect to undertake Q1 or Q2 2018. So we will have to acquire resources in technology and analysis to ensure those projects run smoothly. We will be developing and launching the Patient App in 2018, and on the heels of the pilot studies initiate the BlockRx Pharma Ecosystem and incorporate any projects that are on-going. So it will be a busy year for us.
To add to that, we do realize that for all the areas in which materials and goods are managed via a supply chain, there is a commonality in terms of process that can be modeled against the BlockRx ecosystem. At a top level, all supply chains have similar components; however, no two industry supply chains are exactly alike, as supply chains are made up of thousands of micro chains. However, given the flexibility and scalability of BlockRx, we have already started working with our partners on solutions beyond Drug Supply Chain.
ICO Alert: As a non-BlockRx question, we like to ask for unique predictions on the cryptocurrency and ICO space in the near future. Where do you see the industry in 3–5 years?
BlockRx: The field has lots of really great ideas of how the world should work in a distributed and tokenized world. However, is the world ready to be distributed and tokenized? Not from a cultural or technical standpoint. So, we are likely to see a culling of many ICOs that are the “pets.com” of our era within the 3–5 years. Not to say pets.com was a bad idea per se, it was just 15 years ahead of its time, and many ICOs fit that bill simply because they depend on organic mass adoption and the fundamentals to make that happen aren’t here, yet. There are two types of ICOs that will make it through the next 3–5 years: those that win the fundamental battles that define what the distributed and tokenized world will look like, and those that have identified a solution with a real paying market and have built a flexible ecosystem that is not dependent on any specific “brand” of blockchain technology.
The crowdsale is currently live and is being run in three stages, ending on October 19, 2017 at 11 a.m. EDT. The crowdsale is incentivizing early contribution for BlockRx tokens (BKRx) as follows:
September 21, 2017 — September 28, 2017: 1 Ether = 195 BKRx
September 29, 2017 — October 12, 2017: 1 Ether = 187 BKRx
October 13, 2017 — October 19, 2017: 1 Ether = 170 BKRx
Contribution should be sent to a smart contract address that can be found on the BlockRx website token sale page. There is a minimum of $100 for contributions and Litecoin, Bitcoin, and Ethereum are all accepted forms of contribution. Bank wires are also available, with a minimum of $500 for contribution. The BlockRx token is an ERC-20 Ethereum token and an ERC-20 compatible wallet must be used (Myetherwallet, etc.).
There is some basic information that must be filled out and agreed to in order to participate in the crowdsale. There is also a unique feature where you may schedule a meeting to speak with a team member.
Token Distribution Information
There are a total of 300,000,000 BKRx tokens being created, with 120,000,000 available during the crowdsale. Tokens will be distributed to contributors shortly after the crowdsale ends.
There are a variety of different token reward programs that can be found in the BlockRx whitepaper.
40%: Early investors and the public crowdsale
30%: iSolve principals (team members)
20%: Pharma companies
10%: Future employee benefits
The BlockRx tokens for the iSolve principals will have a lockout period of one year. After that, the tokens may be taken out at a rate of 25% every 90 days, but only after milestones in the roadmap have been reached.
Finally, those early investors that contributed in the presale will have a lockup period of 90 days.
Use of Crowdsale Proceeds
30%: Product development
14%: Sales and marketing
12%: Business development
6%: Application support
If BlockRx sells all of the tokens available for sale during the crowdsale, they plan on hiring the following positions in the future:
Technology: Blockchain developers, database developers, API/ERP developers, network administrators, QA testers, project managers, and more
Pharma: ERP Analyst, supply chain analyst, pharmaceutical analyst, clinical research analyst
Administrative: Business development manager, client relations manager, human resources manager
Gordon Tampol, Principal and CEO
As the CEO and member of the board of directors, Gordon is responsible for the vision and leadership that will guide BlockRx into the next era of pharmaceutical technology solutions. With over 18 years of experience in providing solutions for Fortune 500 companies within technology, business management, strategic planning, corporate vision, financial management, and project management, Gordon provides innovation and strategy for new business and strategic partner alignment.
Darryl Glover, Chief Clinical Officer
As the CCO and member of the board of directors, Darryl will be responsible for the solutions and services offerings. In the interim, Darryl will also act as the COO, responsible for the operations of the enterprise. He is a healthcare and biotech international business professional, with over 18 years of expertise in new business development and startups. Darryl has held positions as CEO and COO in Europe and clinical/pharmacy management positions in the U.S. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in biology, the University of the Pacific with a Pharm.D. degree, and the University of Chicago with an MBA.
Katarzyna Piskorska, Chief Financial Officer
As the CFO and member of the board of directors, Kasia is responsible for the financial health and revenue management for iSolve. Kasia has over 13 years of experience in portfolio management, financial management, business management, and project management supporting Fortune 500 clients with strategy and process. She also has experience supporting and advising companies with solutions that involve integration, emerging technologies, and analytics. In addition to her role as principal, she is responsible for financial reporting and strategic partnerships, as well as the development of new revenue channels for supporting iSolve and the biopharma industry.
Carlos Sanchez, Chief Technical Officer
As the CTO and member of the board of directors, Carlos is responsible for technology solutions and vision to ensure BlockRx’s position in the marketplace as a digital enterprise for all business to business channels across all industries that they service. As a technology manager with expertise in security, blockchain, cryptocurrency, integration strategy, e-commerce, and system architecture, Carlos has expertise in managing the adoption of emerging technologies within life sciences, financial services, regulatory, and decentralized markets. Before BlockRx, he worked in consulting within the industry and has held various marketing positions as well.
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(1) BlockRx Website, BlockRx, (2017)
(2) BlockRx Whitepaper, BlockRx, (2017)