Successful spin-off of the 5-HT X-linker: BASF and ARXUM cooperate and secure data integrity through blockchain
This is how data integrity is ensured in the R&D lab: Chemical company BASF and startup ARXUM introduce blockchain technology to ensure data integrity through joint collaboration. The successful collaborative project was an outcome of the 5-HT X-Linker Lab of the Future in February 2022.
The use and analysis of massive amounts of data is essential and unavoidable for pretty much every company nowadays. But how can they ensure the accuracy, reliability and consistency of their data? Data integrity is a key requirement, especially for highly regulated sectors and all digitalization efforts within them. Technical solutions are available to ensure integrity - but they are hardly used in the research and laboratory world. BASF, the world's largest chemical company, has also been confronted with this problem. For the company, the lack of suitable technologies in R&D is surprising for two reasons: "First, research experiments are elemental data source for our research-driven innovation. Second, this area is heavily regulated - and data integrity is often ensured "old fashioned" via manual signatures on printed paper," says Nikola Dimitrov, Laboratory Data Solutions of BASF.
5-HT X-Linker as a gateway to groundbreaking partnerships
New possibilities and approaches to solutions emerged when BASF participated in the 5-HT X-Linker Lab of the Future in February 2022 as a Corporate Speed Dater. The X-Linker is an event series of the 5-HT Digital Hub Chemistry & Health, in which renowned companies are exclusively cross-linked with carefully selected startups from all over the world. BASF was able to exchange ideas with a total of twelve innovative startups in intensive 1:1 discussions - and also met the participating startup ARXUM here.
ARXUM was founded in Kaiserslautern in 2019 and offers blockchain-based data integrity technology and blockchain as a service for a complex business environment. The startup presented its solution at the X-Linker event in a pitch, which provided a good basis for the subsequent speed dating with the participating established companies and among them the corporate speed daters of BASF. ARXUM convinced them especially with its expertise in the regulatory area and thus proved to be a suitable cooperation partner for the chemical company and its requirements. „Unique selling point of ARXUM for BASF is their experience with regulated environments. While there are other providers for blockchain based solutions available, only ARXUM offered a background in handling laboratory equipment, laboratory data and the combination with the heavily regulated areas of healthcare or life science areas”, reports Nikola Dimitrov.
The 5-HT X-Linker therefore proved to be a valuable format - for both startups and established companies - from which great collaborative success stories emerge.
The X-linker event was impeccably organized and executed, and we were particularly pleased with the selection of companies for the 1:1 sessions. We also found the moderation by Marco Majer to be commendable, and the overall atmosphere was excellent.
– Marco Menches, Senior Sales Manager ARXUM
The path of the startup solution into the R&D labs of the chemical company
But how did the initial exchange on the 5-HT X-Linker turn into a successful collaboration? After the event, the BASF project team internally considered how they could initiate a collaboration to make the solutions offered by ARXUM available within BASF. The project was then initiated by their "key technology capabilities" project funding KTC, which was a perfect match for kicking off such activities.
The concrete goal of the project was to introduce blockchain technology together with ARXUM to ensure data integrity, with a focus on (regulated) R&D labs. For this purpose, BASF is utilizing the ARXUM DIP solution. “Through DIP's secure storage on an unmodifiable blockchain backend and encrypted IPFS cloud storage, BASF can store and verify all data with comprehensive historical documentation and event tracking capabilities. This allows for easy access to the original data, safe database restoration, reduced effort for revision documentation, and simplified integrity verification processes. Additionally, DIP provides the proof of data origination, allowing for external access by regulatory entities”, Marco Menches from ARXUM explains the technology.
The project was initiated across two phases. In the first phase, the cooperation partners established the technical prerequisites for the collaboration. In this context, BASF evaluated ARXUM's solution. In a second step, the new blockchain API was to be integrated into BASF's internal digital product, ICoRe, for entity registry as a proof of concept (POC). “The use of blockchain offers audit trails of entities registered with our system. This POC will now encourage internal BASF stakeholders to explore the use of blockchain to support the data integrity use cases.”, says Girish Srinivas from BASF.
The project result and next steps
After intensive collaboration, the KTC project was completed and led to a successful outcome, as reported by Nikola Dimitrov from BASF: „A distinctive feature of the achieved results of the collaboration between our KTC project and ARXUM is the development of a new ARXUM product, which allows the use of the blockchain quick and easily over REST APIs.”
In the next steps, the thoroughly evaluated solution and its easy usage will be presented to the KTC community within BASF so that other research and development projects can easily use the blockchain technology.
Successful cooperation - satisfied partners - fulfilled mission
The cooperation was a total success, as both partners confirm to us. BASF's assessment of the collaboration with the startup is highly positive:
ARXUM has been an agile partner in the best way. They consulted and guided us in matching blockchain services for laboratory and research use cases and never hesitated to give us access to development environments to ensure the solution works for BASF – also technically.
- Nikola Dimitrov, BASF
The startup was also highly impressed with the collaboration with the chemical company:
As for our collaboration with BASF, it proved to be an exceptional problem-solving partnership that resulted in a well-defined project. The individuals involved were exceptionally cordial, which made our collaboration a delight. We were able to efficiently work together to achieve our mutual objectives, and the results were extremely gratifying.
- Marco Menches, ARXUM
The success story shows: Leading global corporates can also benefit from startups and jointly develop innovative digital solutions. The 5-HT X-Linker format is a valuable and resource-saving opportunity for both sides to network and exchange initial ideas. Information on the program can be found here: https://www.5-ht.com/en/programs/5-ht-x-linker
In the case of BASF and ARXUM, the event accomplished its mission and brought together another Perfect Match.
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