FedEx Institute partners with Good Shepherd Pharmacy to build a blockchain

(Photo: Shutterstock)

The FedEx Institute of Technology is partnering with Good Shepherd Pharmacy to build a new blockchain infrastructure in Memphis to help get needed cancer medications into people’s hands. In yet another example of a blockchain application, which allows secure and immediate, time-stamped distribution of information, this helps with Memphis-based Good Shepherd’s initiatives. Their mission is to retrieve unused medications from cancer patients and make them available to the disadvantaged.

“In Tennessee alone, over $10 million worth of perfectly good prescription medication gets flushed down the toilet every year,” Phil Baker, Good Shepherd Pharmacy’s CEO, said. “Blockchain is the solution for that problem. The REMEDI project (REclaiming MEDicine) will divert valuable medication into the hands of patients who would not otherwise use it.” 

Part of the effort involves the FedEx Institute hosting an community event called Blockchain 901, which specializes in expanding Memphis’ technology workforce. The event that happened last week offered blockchain enthusiasts and professionals the opportunity to connect and discuss the challenges of Good Shepherd’s blockchain resource development program.

“One of the most valuable resources universities can provide to the innovation ecosystem is the space to explore new ideas and opportunities in an unrestrained environment,” said Cody Behles, FedEx Institute’s Innovation and Research Support’s assistant director. 

“Memphis is attracting next-wave startups that recognize that setting up shop in traditional renovation markets like San Francisco is not always the best business decision. We are here to cultivate collaboration through aligned partnerships and amplification or opportunity.”

The U of M-FedEx venture is designed to provide well-paying, part-time jobs that give students real-world professional experience. It’s also viewed as a selling point for the U of M’s graduate programs in STEM disciplines and a channel for growing the region’s technology workforce.

Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal, chief innovation officer and graduate school dean at U of M, said in a release: “This initiative is designed to help the University recruit world-class talent from around the nation to its master’s and doctoral programs in the STEM disciplines, which will help grow the regional technical workforce in computer science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, data analytics and real-time IT algorithms.”

Dhaliwal added, “Given the global shortage of talent in these technical areas, these common efforts provide a significant advantage in attracting industries of the future to our region.”        

University president M. David Rudd said, “We are very thankful for FedEx’s continued overwhelming support and presence on our campuses. The FedEx IT Command Center provides another wonderful venue for our graduate students to not only gain valuable work experience but to earn wages to help make college more affordable.”

UMRF Ventures chief executive Tom Kadien added, “This is yet another example of FedEx making a positive difference on our campus and in our community. “These graduate students will have a terrific work experience alongside FedEx professionals, and it will help them secure better jobs in the future.”

FreightWaves has covered use cases for blockchain application from tracing food in the complicated supply chain, to the low-tech world of small farmers, to the types of businesses that the future of blockchain will thrive with, to smart contracts and the power of instant settlement, to blockchain’s role in smoothing trade across borders.

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Chad Prevost

Chad is radio host and broadcast media specialist for FreightWaves.