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Health Blockchain Start-Up Raises $5.5M in Seed Funds

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(Gerd Altmann, Pixabay.

21 Apr. 2022. A new enterprise aggregating and securing a wide range of health care data with blockchain technology is raising $5.5 million in seed funds. Briya, based in New York, says it can draw data from a variety of research and medical care databases for deep analytics, while protecting individual patient privacy, and outputting results in a standardized format.

Briya began last year to quickly provide insights from research findings and real-world data to health care providers, researchers, and pharmaceutical companies, while enforcing strict controls that meet international privacy standards. The company says it applies blockchain technology with so-called smart contracts to enforce compliance with legal requirements for privacy.

Blockchain is a system for capturing data about transactions in a networked ledger, but with data distributed among the various parties to the transactions. Data about a transaction are broken up into blocks, with each block connected in a chain. Each block is also time-stamped and encrypted with an algorithm giving it a unique identifier or fingerprint, also linked mathematically to the previous block in the chain. This linking of uniquely identified and encrypted blocks in the chain ensures the integrity of the data, as well as protects the data from hacking.

Smart contracts are self-executing agreements written into code and distributed across a blockchain ledger. The agreements allow for carrying out transactions among dispersed and anonymous parties with needing a central authority or external enforcement mechanisms.

Data in standard interchange format

Briya says its use of blockchain and smart contracts makes it possible to maintain anonymity of health data, even protecting against malicious parties attempting to re-identify individuals. The company says its technology enables connecting individual records in various databases over time, using zero-knowledge proof algorithms that allow for verifying identities without revealing authentication data. Briya says its systems can connect data from genetic testing labs, clinical trials, mobile apps, electronic health records, and insurance claims.

In addition, says Briya, its system outputs data in a format meeting requirements of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources. FHIR is a common communication standard for exchanging data from individual electronic health records, independent of the original record’s format. FHIR, say its developers, is suitable for exchanging a wide range of health data including those from mobile apps, cloud systems, and conventional electronic medical records.

“Researchers and health care organizations are being presented data in a vacuum, making it difficult to provide the patient with the most accurate treatment,” says Fabio Lievano a vice-president at drug maker AbbVie and an advisor to Briya in a company statement released through Cision. “Briya connects the data to immediately display a complete picture of the patient’s comprehensive history.”

Briya was founded in late 2020 by David Lazerson and Guy Tish, now the company’s CEO and chief technology officer respectively. Yesterday, the company emerged from stealth mode, announcing the raise of $5.5 million in seed funds led by technology investor Amiti Ventures in Tel Aviv, joined by Insight Partners and Innocare Health Investments. Amiti Ventures makes early-stage investments in Israeli technology companies. Briya has offices in Tel Aviv and Nashville, as well as New York.

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