Rostock/Cologne, Germany, April 17, 2020 (Globe Newswire) – CENTOGENE (Nasdaq: CNTG), a commercial-stage company focused on rare diseases that transforms real-world clinical and genetic data into actionable information for patients, physicians, and pharmaceutical companies, and the Cologne-based blockchain start-up Ubirch today announced a joint solution for the successful fight against the effects of SARS-CoV-2 ─ the virus causing COVID-19 ─ on the economy and social life in Germany. In the future, SARS-CoV-2 test results will be stored on the blockchain and can be retrieved at any time ─ serving as a virtual certificate of immunity to the virus. This could considerably accelerate the return to normalcy for our society and the economy.
The current contact restrictions in Germany cannot be upheld until a Coronavirus vaccine is ready for market, which has major consequences on the economy and the ability for individuals to move about freely. As it is projected that the novel virus will continue to pose a threat to society for the foreseeable future, systems will have to be adapted to include more stringent controls, increased testing efforts, the tracing of infection chains, and the isolation of potentially infected individuals as well as risk groups. In the coming weeks and months, it will likely be required for individuals to demonstrate a verified status of whether they are positive for SARS-CoV-2, or not. Such requirements are expected to apply to international flights and working in critical areas. This will be even more applicable once antibody tests are established, which will serve as reliable proof of immunity to the virus. The solution focuses on GDPR conformity: According to the highest data protection standards, user data is only stored as hash values on the blockchain and cannot be interpreted without user authorization.
CENTOGENE and Ubirch have joined forces to provide a readily available and secure solution that best accelerates the transition back to our familiar economic and social coexistence. Results from SARS-CoV-2 tests performed at CENTOGENE's laboratories will be directly sealed virtually on the blockchain – similar to the way it is done at a notary in the ‘real world’ ─ using the Ubirch solution. Whenever an individual needs to show proof that they are not infected by the virus ─ e.g., to gain access to a production plant, public transportation, or a hospital ─ the presented result can be verified with the help of a 100% genuine blockchain certificate. This form of distributed security has already proven itself in other industrial environments. The IoT-based procedure is ideally suited to secure and verify medical data.
CENTOGENE CIO Volkmar Weckesser stated, "We are convinced that only widespread testing of those currently infected with COVID-19 will bring us out of the current lockdown. For this purpose, we have developed an efficient test to screen for SARS-CoV-2 with an associated portal. Together with Ubirch's solution, the test results can be accessed everywhere in a forgery-proof manner ─ spearheading a return to normality.”
Ubirch CEO Stephan Noller said, "We are working at full speed on this new partnership, because time is of the essence, and a lot is at stake. With our joint solution, it will be possible for people to present their corona test results at any time, and thus be able to move around freely again to a large extent. We have developed a central solution module enabling us to help swiftly lift the lockdown restrictions and move on to more targeted measures.”
Discussions are already underway with other partners ─ enabling companies to be able to quickly set up a Coronavirus tracking infrastructure in which the results of mass screenings can be used to release people from quarantine or allow them to participate fully in economic and social life again.
Ubirch is the specialist for blockchain-based technology in the field of IoT with locations in Cologne, Berlin and Munich. The team consists of experienced specialists for cryptography, blockchain and data-driven business models. Ubirch primarily addresses customers from the industry, smart cities, insurance, IoT start-ups, energy supply and logistics segments. Consisting of an extremely lightweight client for sensor firmware and the matching cloud backend, Ubirch's "Blockchain for Things" product enables data security at military grade standards and thus offers new business models for the Internet of Things. Innovative cryptography and blockchain technologies guarantee the trustworthiness of IoT data. Further information is available here.
CENTOGENE engages in diagnosis and research around rare diseases transforming real-world clinical and genetic data into actionable information for patients, physicians, and pharmaceutical companies. Our goal is to bring rationality to treatment decisions and to accelerate the development of new orphan drugs by using our extensive rare disease knowledge, including epidemiological and clinical data and innovative biomarkers. CENTOGENE has developed a global proprietary rare disease platform based on our real-world data repository with approximately 2.1 billion weighted data points from approximately 500,000 patients representing over 120 different countries as of December 31, 2019, or an average of approximately 600 data points per patient.
The Company’s platform includes epidemiologic, phenotypic and genetic data that reflects a global population, and also a biobank of these patients’ blood samples. CENTOGENE believes this represents the only platform that comprehensively analyzes multi-level data to improve the understanding of rare hereditary diseases, which can aid in the identification of patients and improve our pharmaceutical partners’ ability to bring orphan drugs to the market. As of December 31, 2019, the Company collaborated with over 35 pharmaceutical partners for over 40 different rare diseases.
Important Notice and Disclaimer
This press release contains statements that constitute “forward looking statements” as that term is defined in the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements that express the Company’s opinions, expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions or projections regarding future events or future results, in contrast with statements that reflect historical facts. Examples include discussion of our strategies, financing plans, growth opportunities and market growth. In some cases, you can identify such forward-looking statements by terminology such as “anticipate,” “intend,” “believe,” “estimate,” “plan,” “seek,” “project” or “expect,” “may,” “will,” “would,” “could” or “should,” the negative of these terms or similar expressions. Forward looking statements are based on management’s current beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available to the Company. However, these forward-looking statements are not a guarantee of our performance, and you should not place undue reliance on such statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to many risks, uncertainties and other variable circumstances, such as negative worldwide economic conditions and ongoing instability and volatility in the worldwide financial markets, possible changes in current and proposed legislation, regulations and governmental policies, pressures from increasing competition and consolidation in our industry, the expense and uncertainty of regulatory approval, including from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, our reliance on third parties and collaboration partners, including our ability to manage growth and enter into new client relationships, our dependency on the rare disease industry, our ability to manage international expansion, our reliance on key personnel, our reliance on intellectual property protection, fluctuations of our operating results due to the effect of exchange rates or other factors. Such risks and uncertainties may cause the statements to be inaccurate and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such statements. Many of these risks are outside of the Company’s control and could cause its actual results to differ materially from those it thought would occur. The forward-looking statements included in this press release are made only as of the date hereof. The Company does not undertake, and specifically declines, any obligation to update any such statements or to publicly announce the results of any revisions to any such statements to reflect future events or developments, except as required by law.
For further information, please refer to the Risk Factors section in our registration statement on form F-1, as amended (file no. 333-234177) and other current reports and documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). You may get these documents by visiting EDGAR on the SEC website.