UBS, the biggest Switzerland-based bank, has announced it will provide the blockchain-based code for HEAL alliance, a non-profit company that facilitates HIV research. The announcement was made at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 21, 2016.
HEAL alliance will use the blockchain technology to drive investment into “HEAL bonds” that will be utilized to develop anti-HIV drugs. The company intends to raise about $10 billion through the sale of bonds.
“We believe that robust support for a flexible, collaborative venture will facilitate quantum leaps in the field and improve efficiency, while at the same time conserving resources via data sharing,” HEAL alliance wrote on its website.
The code provided was originally created for UBS’s bond trading platform that the bank developed in collaboration with Euroclear, LCH.Clearnet, CME Group, Société Générale and the London Stock Exchange. It was first introduced in September 2015.
The new bonds, inspired by the Global Alliance Vaccine Initiative’s “vaccine bonds”, will have a maturity period of 25 years.
The code, which was developed by the UK-based fintech startup Finclusion, is currently under testing. The sale of HEAL bonds is planned to start in April, when the testing period will complete.
“One of our first experiments in the UBS Innovation Lab in London was the development of a ‘smart bond’. This experiment confirmed the potential benefits: clearing and settlement on blockchain could be faster, more efficient and transparent while reducing settlement risk and operational cost,” said UBS’s chief information officer, Oliver Bussmann.
Law company Linklaters has offered its pro bono support for Finclusion. Other backers include Intel, Microsoft, the University of California San Francisco Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology Center for AIDS Research and the UBS Innovation Lab.
Besides, the project will get support from the UK Financial Conduct Authority in order to ensure regulatory compliance.
Peter Jensen, Finclusion’s CEO, said the use of the blockchain technology presents a range of benefits. “We don’t need to incur the same settlement and clearing costs for bonds and we can go straight to market with or without a syndicator,” he said.
The blockchain has been applied in the healthcare industry before. In 2014, DNA.bits used the technology to create a DNA Wallet for storing medical record data.
Last year, the blockchain startup Factom partnered with medical services provider HealthNautica. The deal helped to ensure higher security of medical records and maintain patient privacy.
A few months ago, the blockchain solutions company Tierion unveiled a partnership with Philips Healthcare. Although no details are available, it is known that Philips Healthcare is now exploring the potential applications of the technology.