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Decentralised Science Project VitaDAO Launches First Company, Makes $300k Seed Investment

VitaDAO, a decentralised science (DeSci) DAO, and the University of Rochester’s Ageing Research Center’s Vera Gorbunova have launched their first biotech company, Matrix Biosciences. The DAO will support the newly launched company with $300,000 in seed money, with additional funding expected to arrive in early 2024.

VitaDAO, the DAO disrupting health research funding

VitaDAO was established in 2021 with a focus on supporting “longevity” studies with the goal of increasing the average lifespan of humans. The DAO currently supports multiple projects, most of which aim to make “moonshot” advancements in the field of ageing research. Members of the DAO don’t profit from their work, and any earnings are reinvested into the DAO to be used for future projects, making the DAO similar to an endowment fund.

With their “valley of death” stage investments, VitaDAO bets on unproven longevity of life projects in the early stages of research. Using knowledge gained from cancer-resistant naked mole rats, the DAO says it will use the first $300,000 to study hyaluronic acid-based molecules with the hope of making groundbreaking advances in cancer and ageing treatments. The DAO uses an IP-NFT fractionalization model, whereby an IP is modeled into an NFT that enables buyers to own a portion of the rights.  VitaDAO is counting on this mechanism will to provide the organisation with additional capital. Matrix Bio’s requirements will dictate how much extra money it needs to raise from IP-NFTs.

Using the VitaDAO-affiliated platform Molecule, IP-NFT fractionalization enables scientists to publish NFT projects in its marketplace. The DeSci movement, of which VitaDAO is a part, is currently in its initial market development stages. DeSci seeks to obtain research finance through crowdfunding campaigns and decentralised ownership as an alternative to the existing system’s reliance on centralised bodies for research and funding.

To date, VitaDAO says it has spent $4 million in money to support 19 projects and attract over 10,000 members. One of the most prominent investors in the DAO is pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which contributed to an earlier $4.1 million investment. Matrix Biosciences, in contrast to the decentralised nature of VitaDAO, will be structured and run much like a conventional company. VitaDAO will be the company’s primary stakeholder, and the startup biotech will owe it periodic reports.