VitaDAO aims to extend human lifespan “by researching, financing, and commercializing longevity therapeutics in an open and democratic manner.”
An interesting new player has just emerged in the longevity funding ecosystem. VitaDAO is a platform for the acceleration of longevity R&D through “community-governed and decentralized drug development.” As a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), VitaDAO is wholly owned and governed by its members.
Longevity.Technology: Despite recent growth in significant funding rounds for longevity ventures, early-stage funding is still a challenge, with intellectual property ownership a key issue. By leveraging crypto and blockchain technologies, VitaDAO is aiming to address this challenge head-on.
An open cooperative “that anyone can join”, VitaDAO aims to acquire, support and finance new therapeutics and research data in the longevity space. The collective will directly hold legal IP rights to these projects and intends to develop a portfolio of assets represented as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
In addition to NFTs, VitaDAO leverages novel governance frameworks and financial engineering tools such as algorithmic automated market makers (AMMs) that run on the Ethereum blockchain.
VitaDAO was initiated by Molecule.to and already involves a number of partners, including Ocean Protocol, Linum Labs, decentralized MATTER, and the Scheibye-Knudsen Lab at Copenhagen University, where the first project collaboration is happening.
“We’ve created VitaDAO to democratize the development of longevity therapeutics,” Tyler Golato, co-initiator of VitaDAO told us. “The goal is to enable drug development in an open, collaborative, and decentralized manner and include a broad community of stakeholders. With VitaDAO, anyone can contribute and co-own valuable therapeutics that will shape the future of longevity.”
The Scheibye-Knudsen lab project combines massive epidemiological datasets with wet-lab analyses to discover new drugs and drug targets for the extension of human lifespan and healthspan.
“The collaboration with Molecule has been in preparation for several years and it is therefore thrilling that we can finally reveal VitaDAO to the world,” says the lab’s leader, Dr Morten Scheibye-Knudsen. “The project is extremely interesting in the context of open science and since the project is openly sourced, we will provide the results openly and in an ongoing manner as they come in. I think this is a fantastic opportunity for the public to become engaged in how scientific drug discovery is made.”
A whitepaper written by Golato and his Molecule co-founder Paul Kohlhaas, discusses current biopharma IP mechanisms, claiming that they “prevent the open sharing of research data, inherently disincentivizing collaboration and transparency.”
The paper goes on to say that the general public is large prevented from owning biopharma IP, “even though their tax dollars fund much of the early-stage development.”
VitaDAO aims to change this by allowing members of the public to contribute work or funds to joint the collective and become owners of its IP by purchasing “VITA tokens”. This could be either through contribution of funds, valuable research data or IP assets. Ownership of VITA tokens allows you to take part in decision-making and governance of VitaDAO’s research, indicate support for specific initiatives and govern its data repositories and IP portfolio.
In addition to acquiring and commissioning research, VitaDAO will own, develop and monetize the resulting IP assets. Longevity research projects can make funding requests to VitaDAO, which are voted on by its members. If successful, funding is provided in exchange for an ownership stake in the resulting IP.