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Dr. Joshi (moderator), Rich Uhlig (CEO), Ben Perry (VP Tech), Dr. Carpenter (EVP Clinical), Dr. Hicks (Genetics)

Crypto Healthcare Update #4–

3 Disruptive Ideas From Quadrant Biosciences Event on March 22nd

Last Thursday Quadrant Biosciences, a leading biotech company in Brain Health diagnostics hosted over 150 crypto-enthusiasts, scientists, investors, some MMA fans and individuals interested in Quadrant’s token sale and how blockchain will transform healthcare. We learned not only about genetic and epigenetic testing for brain diseases like traumatic brain injury (TBI), Autism spectrum diseases (ASD) and Parkinson but also and how Quadrant through blockchain technology plans to disrupt Biotech funding!

Idea number 1: Measuring micro RNA (miRNA) in our saliva can quickly diagnose concussion

The evening started with Rich Uhlig sharing the story of his young son’s concussion, one of an estimated 329,290 children (age 19 or younger) who are treated every year in the emergency room for sports and recreation-related TBI. Compelled by the staggering annual total of 3.8 million concussions(!), Quadrant developed a new FDA-approved diagnostic that consists of cognitive and balance tests accompanied by a comprehensive collection of patient symptoms and injury history questionnaires. This 20-minute test is one the many other emerging diagnostics that aim to rapidly asses and immediately offer early and optimal treatment for concussion and TBI.

An analysis of patents filed for rapid diagnosis of concussion by method of diagnosis (STAT, Dec 18, 2017)

Such tests include blood tests that offer results within 3–4 hours from injury and may avoid the need for unnecessary brain imaging (like CT, MRI) and Quadrant’s truly remarkable breakthrough saliva test that offers immediate results using miRNA.

Using miRNA, tiny snippets of noncoding RNA, as a biomarker is simply brilliant. First, it is likely to lead to early diagnosis due to its upstream position in the regulation cascade. Second, it is more readily discovered by genomic tools such as oligonucleotide microarrays and deep sequencing which deliver higher throughput than mass spectrometry, the primary tool for protein and metabolite biomarker identification. Third, even low levels of miRNA biomarkers can be amplified and then detected in a clinical setting by real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR), an approach used in FDA-approved clinical tests already; whereas, no equivalent approach is available in detecting low abundant proteins or metabolites.

Quadrant has successfully shown that their salivary miRNA test is an accurate, objective, and easily collected test that can be used for immediate and prolonged concussion symptoms as well as TBI. Not surprisingly they are now examining the utility of this test for Autism, Parkinson and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Idea number 2: Blockchain solves Interoperability

Much is being published with regard to the role of blockchain and healthcare. That blockchain is a game changer; that blockchain can solve revenue management; that blockchain can help self-monetize health data; that blockchain and AI is even better than blockchain alone.

Most of these ideas are based on the decentralizing and self-sovereign forces that are now emerging in healthcare.

The Medical Futurist

However if you follow carefully the official publications by the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information (ONC), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), I believe that the first and main use of blockchain will be in improving Electronic Health Recored (EHR) interoperability.

Interoperability as defined by HIMSS is the ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged.

In the 21st Century Cures Act (HR 34, 2016), Congress specifically defined interoperability in that it:

  • Enables the secure exchange of electronic health information with, and use of electronic health information from, other health information technology without special effort on the part of the user.
  • Allows for complete access, exchange and use of all electronically accessible health information for authorized use under applicable state or federal law.
  • Does not constitute information blocking.

Yet despite the development of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR, pronounced “fire”) standards, I believe 2018 is going to see interoperability come even more to the forefront as regulatory action, pressure from value-based payment and delivery models, and deeper partnerships between physicians and payers bring the needs for sharing health data into sharp focus.

Idea number 3: Quadrant Is Pioneering The Use of Security Tokens To Fund Biotech Research

As the evening was coming to an end the guy next to me murmured:

“what the hell does all this talk of ‘blockchainizing’ clinical, diagnostic and genetic data have to do with the sale”?

After all many came to hear how Quadrant is selling approximately 20% of its common equity (about 20 million tokens) half in private sales and the remaining in a public Dutch auction.

Rich, a retired Wall Street executive explained that the token sale funds will be used to expand Quadrant’s diagnostic platform as well as upgrades and short term investments. As the audience eagerly pursued the usual Q&A’s on Regs D, A+, rule 506(c) and atomic swaps, Rich asked:

- “Who would like to dis-intermediate Wall Street”???

and after a long very awkward silence he said:

- “Well, I do!! and I know some of you think of me as a traitor…”

That was, no doubt the disruptive thought of the night.

Not only did Rich remind me that old business models are failing (for example pharma’s internal rate of return [IRR] on R&D is already 0%, and see below), but that many smart people are still in denial and that courage, not only creativity, is needed to fix healthcare.

Kelvin Stott, Director, R&D Portfolio Management (2018)

Final thought:

The World Economic Forum has recognized brain disorders as the public health challenge for the 21st century and that to treat them requires a range of new technologies that fuse physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenges ideas about what it means to be human.

It is appropriate that one of these technologies will be blockchain, and that is exactly what Quadrant Biosciences is doing.

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Dr. Alex Cahana

Veteran, Philosopher, Physician who lived 4 lives in 1. UN Healthcare and Blockchain expert. Venture Partner, ImpactRooms, alex.cahana@impactrooms.com