Blockchain firm Nebula Genomics has announced a collaboration with EMD Serono, the North American biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA — the world’s oldest operating pharmaceutical firm. The news was announced in a press release shared with Cointelegraph on June 11.

As previously reported, Nebula is a blockchain-powered platform for genome-sequencing data, co-founded in 2017 by renowned geneticist Professor George Church and his Harvard colleagues Dennis Grishin and Kamal Obbad.

The platform leverages blockchain technology in a bid to incentivize genomic data generation and sharing, and to lower the costs of genome-sequencing while preserving privacy and individuals’ control over their unique and sensitive data.

In its collaboration with EMD Serono, Nebula will provide the firm with access to its network of anonymized genomic data in order to support the research and development of new medicines.

In an accompanying blog post shared with Cointelegraph, Nebula outlined that its agreement with EMD Serono represents its first attempt to realize a model of sponsored genome sequencing.

The blog post also includes a link to a survey for lung cancer patients, who are invited to register for free high-coverage germline and tumor whole-genome sequencing that can help them to make better treatment choices, as well as contribute toward research in oncology.

The press release notes that the creation and analysis of large genomic datasets holds a transformative potential for healthcare and biomedical research, but that slow data generation, data fragmentation and inefficient consent management all currently pose obstacles to realizing this potential.

As reported last week, major pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim has recently partnered with blockchain healthcare platform Solve.Care to build a blockchain- and digital asset-powered network for the trusted sharing of data about patients with diabetes.

In January of this year, Merck was awarded a patent in the United States earlier this year for a system that uses a combination of artificial intelligence and blockchain tech to establish the authenticity of unique physical objects.

A Cointelegraph in-depth report last fall covered Nebula Genomics and other projects that are working on blockchain solutions that aim to innovate the ownership and circulation models for highly sensitive and scientifically valuable genomic data.