Profiling the Work of VitaDAO in Funding Aging Research and Development

A sizable part of the magic of blockchain technologies is the ability of the present ecosystem to materialize significant funding for near any effort that would have struggled to find backers via more traditional approaches. So much money flows through the exchanges and ongoing speculation that any new blockchain connected to that system quickly gains value almost regardless of its merit. That of course enables a lot of fraud. But at the same time, it enables worthwhile exercises such as VitaDAO, an organization that is using its blockchain-derived resources to fund meaningful research and development in the aging field, leading towards means to treating aging as a medical condition. As VitaDAO expands its activities, it is attracting more attention from the research community, always interested in novel means of funding fundamental science.

Like all researchers, Morten Scheibye-Knudsen is constantly looking for ways to fund his research, and he had been considering crowdfunding, when, out of the blue, he was contacted about a new platform under development for resourcing potential therapeutic programs using an online network of like-minded individuals - a so-called DAO, or decentralized autonomous community - who contribute their time or money to projects. In recent years, other DAOs have been emerging in life sciences. Scheibye-Knudsen's project searching for molecules that promote longevity seemed like an ideal program with which to test drive the new platform, which came to be called VitaDAO. Intrigued by this new means of funding, with its unusual community of stakeholders, Scheibye-Knudsen decided to apply. Several mostly academic programs have received funding from VitaDAO in the two years since he joined the group.

VitaDAO is housed on the Swiss web3-powered company Molecule, which in July received its first round of funding with a $12.6 million investment from a set of investors - some, including lead firm NorthPond Ventures, well known in the biotech space. Molecule was launched on a shoestring two years ago to catalyze the assembly of communities of life-science researchers, patients, and other stakeholders into DAOs, with the goal of democratizing and advancing translational research. Molecule's core innovation is a system for sharing intellectual property (IP) through non-fungible tokens (IP-NFTs), which simply turns IP into a digital asset, one with verifiable ownership by virtue of its being on Molecule's blockchain. The aim is to open up siloed research, at the same time enabling DAO members to play roles in advancing research that they care about.

A few weeks prior had marked the first anniversary of VitaDAO, which is Molecule's most advanced DAO. Last year, VitaDao raised more than $10 million through a token sale, $2 million of which, as of late July, has been allotted to funding various projects in geroscience, among them four that forged IP-NFTs. The idea is to provide infrastructure to market research in emerging areas that are underfunded by conventional avenues but show commercial promise - in VitaDAO's case, in geroscience. Should the DAO achieve commercial success with its projects, through a licensing event, partnership or co-development deal that further advances the asset, any financial gains will be plowed back into the platform to fund future generations of research.



speaking of vitadao, I haven't seen any new research proposals for a little while... hoping for some more!

Also, on their website: it says that they currently have 2.2million us dollars in their "treasury"... does this mean that 2.2mil is sitting around, waiting for a good research proposal to come along?

Posted by: GREGORY S SCHULTE at September 7th, 2022 12:07 PM
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