VitaDAO Letter: 2023 in Review

VitaDAO
9 min readJan 30, 2024

What an extraordinary year it has been! Since June 23rd, 2021, the day VitaDAO’s Gnosis Auction funded our Treasury, VitaDAO has been funding longevity research and fostering a community of passionate researchers, enthusiasts, and professionals. Fast forward to today, and VitaDAO has become a driving force in the field, achieving remarkable milestones and setting new standards. 2023 witnessed a successful funding round that garnered support from influential partners such as Pfizer Ventures, contained an unprecedented VITA-FAST token sale, and furthered the evolution of VitaDAO as a key player in the DeSci arena.

For those of you who are new here, VitaDAO is a community-owned collective dedicated to funding and advancing longevity science research. VitaDAO is divided into three working groups (Longevity Dealflow, Community and Awareness, and Coordination) that call upon smaller “squads” as needed. In this newsletter, find brief recaps of some of the work that VitaDAO’s Working Groups and Squads accomplished in the last year. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the read!

🧬Longevity Dealflow Working Group

Throughout 2023, the Dealflow Working Group tirelessly sourced and evaluated projects. Notably, through VDP-106, the DAO set forth a new standardized process to better screen proposals presented to the DAO. In total since its initiation, VitaDAO has evaluated over 200 projects, funded 20 projects, and deployed over 4 million dollars! Among these, 14 projects received funding in 2023:

  1. BE Therapeutics — Brain Tissue Replacement — BE Therapeutics is aiming to develop technology that can engineer functional brain tissue to replace the tissue impaired by age-related damage.
  2. Humanity — Proprietary Aging Score App — Humanity is an app that uses wearable technology and quantified-self methods to enable anyone with a smartphone to measure their rate of aging and it uses AI to find out what lifestyle actions and more advanced interventions each type of user should take to slow it down.
  3. Etheros — Fullerene Chemistry for Longevity — Etheros is a biotech company pioneering a new class of small molecule drugs based on Nobel Prize-winning fullerene chemistry. Their lead compound, which mimics enzymes called superoxide dismutases that protect cells from oxidative and inflammatory injury, has already generated promising efficacy data in animal studies.
  4. HDAX Therapeutics — Histone Deacetylase Targeting Drug Discovery — HDAX is a preclinical-stage drug discovery company targeting a class of proteins implicated in neuropathies and inflammation with novel small molecules having potentially superior drug properties.
  5. Zoe Biosciences — PAI-1 Antibody Therapeutics — Zoe Biosciences has two assets with the potential to extend human healthspan. The first program contains PAI-1 biologic inhibitors with high target selectivity and affinity, relevant for diseases including elevated FGF23 syndromes and metabolic disorders. The second program contains APJ small-molecule agonists for similar age-related indications.
  6. Matrix Bio — Long-lived Species Inspired Longevity Biotech — VitaDAO and the Gorbunova Lab are launching Matrix Bio, a cutting-edge research venture leveraging the anti-cancer and pro-longevity effects of high molecular weight hyaluronic acid from naked mole rats to humans.
  7. ImmuneAge Bio — Rejuvenation of Aged HSCs — ImmuneAGE Bio is the first drug discovery platform company focused on immune system rejuvenation. ImmuneAGE’s lead program, IA101, is a non-toxic small molecule that can rejuvenate aged HSCs and aged animal immune function with higher efficacy than any molecule previously published.
  8. ExcepGen Inc — RNA therapeutics for longevity — ExcepGen is developing a new generation of vaccines and therapeutics with an RNAx platform.
  9. ARTAN Bio — Mutation-Specific Codon Suppression for Aging and Longevity — ARTAN is a biotechnology company developing first-in-class interventions to tackle the most frequent nonsense mutations implicated in a wide range of age-related diseases and cancers. These nonsense mutations induce premature stops of protein translation when occurring in coding regions.
  10. Cyclarity — Novel Cyclodextrin Molecules for Multiple Aging-related Diseases — Cyclarity Therapeutics is an early-stage biotechnology company developing computationally designed novel cyclodextrin drug molecules for the extraction of toxic biomolecules that accumulate with age and are implicated in a variety of age-related conditions.
  11. Reversing Periodontal Disease using Geroscience — An Lab — Johnathan An’s Lab proposes to use small molecule inhibitors of the PI3K/NFkB/mTOR pathway to treat periodontal disease. By targeting inflammation in age-related periodontitis, they hope to find a geroscience-based treatment.
  12. Oisín Biotechnologies — Pioneering Genetic Medicines for Sarcopenia — Oisín Biotechnologies is a multi-asset longevity biotech company pioneering genetic medicines to combat sarcopenia and other age-related diseases to promote healthier, longer lives.
  13. Remedium Bio- Gene Therapy for Regenerative Medicine — Remedium Bio is a regenerative medicine biotechnology company, that has developed the only dose-adjustable gene therapy platform technology Prometheus™ and is currently advancing multiple assets with uncorrelated risk to Investigational New Drug (IND) approval.

Other Notable Dealflow Achievements

  • Through June’s token sale of $VITA-FAST tokens, token holders were given the ability to directly influence longevity research for the first time in history. The $VITA-FAST token was created to give holders exclusive control over the licensing function of the Newcastle-Korolchuk IP and governance over the direction of the research and development of that IP. The sale was wildly successful, concluding with over 1700% oversubscription.
  • VitaDAO made history as it was the first DAO to kickstart a biotech company. This company, MatrixBio, is leveraging high molecular weight hyaluronic acid (HMW-HA) for cancer and age-related diseases.
  • VitaDAO launched “The Longevist,” an overlay longevity research journal. Every quarter, a shortlist of preprints has been selected by the VitaDAO community and voted on by Longevist Curators.
  • VitaDAO played a strategic role in Zuzalu’s inaugural event, a pop-up city in Montenegro. In the capacity of a co-organizer and representative authority on longevity, VitaDAO hosted a two-day longevity biotech conference. Here, leading experts shared insights into cutting-edge research in longevity science and rejuvenation technology. Topics spanned a broad range of disciplines, including Cellular Reprogramming, Cell Replacement, Immune System Rejuvenation, and DNA Damage.
  • Of note this year, through VDP 107, Laurence Ion stepped down from the role of Longevity Dealflow Working Group Steward. The community voted to place Eleanor Davies as Interim Dealflow Steward.

🗣️Community and Awareness Working Group

With a robust Dealflow Working Group, the Community and Awareness team had its work cut out! Alex Dobrin’s re-election as the Community and Awareness Working Group Steward set the stage for a packed year. The year started off strong with PR efforts surrounding the announcement of VitaDAO’s $4.1 million fundraising round. VitaDAO continued to spread awareness globally, as representatives from VitaDAO attended over a dozen conferences on four continents. These meetings included, but are not limited to, DeSci London, DeSci Singapore, DeSci Berlin, Penn Blockchain, DeSci Japan, Longevity Summit Dublin, Longevity+DeSci Summit NYC, the 10th Aging Research and Drug Discovery Meeting, and Token 2049 Singapore. The VitaDAO buzz reached new heights when Balaji shared our story with his million followers on Lex Fridman’s podcast.

Continuing community education and news dissemination remained a top priority. VitaDAO’s Monthly Community Newsletter celebrated its two-year anniversary and VitaDAO’s Monthly Longevity Research Newsletter celebrated one year in existence. Adding to the excitement, VitaDAO launched The Aging Science Podcast. The podcast, released monthly, features deep conversations with many leading experts in the field of longevity.

Past initiatives were continued in 2023 including VitaDAO’s collaboration with Jellyfish and VitaDAO’s involvement with the VitaDAO Longevity Prize, a collaboration with Foresight Institute and Methuselah Foundation. This April 2023, Hypothesis Prize winners were announced. More recently, VitaDAO partnered with X-Prize on their XPRIZE Healthspan initiative promising a groundbreaking 7-year competition with a $101 million prize pool.

Other awareness initiatives included the funding of another cohort of fellows within VitaDAO’s Longevity Fellowship. The fellowship is composed of deed-based grants awarded to individuals to cover expenses such as conference fees, research funding, and longevity program tuition. In total, VitaDAO has funded over 65 fellows with over $65,000. VitaDAO also continued to engage its community through the Ambassador Program. This program aims to facilitate community growth and engagement through the organization of in-person meet-ups.

As if that wasn’t enough news, VitaDAO hosted its 3rd VitaDAO DeSci & Longevity Symposium. And, VitaDAO hosted its first VitaDAO hackathon! This successful event boasted three winners: Hack-Age (1st), AdStella (2nd), and AGen-iNET (3rd).

Other notable highlights include the release of a Longevity Briefing Primer to define longevity, highlight VitaDAO’s role in the field, and make the case for special economic zones. Maria Marinova posted a series of articles on VitaDAO’s blog exploring the potential of optogenetics to combat aging, embryogenesis and its potential role in longevity, and the mechanisms by which sugar byproducts may impact aging. Lastly, VitaDAO’s Twitter fostered good conversation in the form of multiple Twitter Space interviews and discussions. These include but are not limited to, a discussion on the latest advancements in robust mouse rejuvenation, an interview with Sergey Young, an open discussion on the future of longevity & De-sci, and a discussion on the latest in epigenetic clock research.

Our community outreach numbers, as of January 2023, tell an impressive tale: (see numbers, updated as of January 2023, below):

  • + 3,400 Token Holders
  • + 10,000 Discord Members
  • + 22,000 Twitter followers
  • + 2,100 Youtube Subscribers

🔏Coordination Working Group

In 2023, VitaDAO was recognized by CoinGecko as one of the top crypto projects in Europe. Operating a DAO, and operating it successfully, is no easy task! Todd White, the re-elected Steward, led the working group as it continued to improve financial reporting, ensure accountable use of VitaDAO’s resources, and implement changes to the DAO infrastructure.

Key additions to the VitaDAO infrastructure include the creation of a network steward role and the launch of the member services squad and VitaDAO Global platform for members. The member squad seeks to increase the $VITA token utility value and help VitaDAO members pursue their personal longevity journeys.

Another large change implemented by the Coordination Working Group was the development of an operational company for the execution of the Coordination Working Group functions on behalf of VitaDAO. This for-profit cooperation provides service provider contract management, executes the VitaDAO’s member services program, and more!

This year, the Coordination Working Group also worked with legal counsel to prepare VitaDAO for issuing tokens under the new EU Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) Regulations. Going forward, starting in June 2024, all IP Tokens issued from our IP-NFTs as well as our own VITA token must be compliant with the MiCA Regulations. VitaDAO is on track to be fully compliant by the June 2024 deadline.

The Coordination Working Group also closed 2 funding events for VitaDAO — the $4.1m round in January 2023 which included Pfizer Ventures, Shine Capital, and L1D — but also a smaller $1.3m round in December to provide interested parties with VITA tokens prior to the launch of the VitaDAO Accredited Investor Fund (VDAIF) anticipated in Q1’2024. Another $5.4m which brings us to a total of $10.5m raised since inception.

While the Coordination Working group is often behind the scenes, they are an imperative component to VitaDAO’s success. Early in the year, they played a role in token-gating Discord such that different levels of Discord are unlocked with different quantities of $VITA. More recently, they have assisted with the migration to Parcel for payouts and created a dashboard to create a better payout experience for contributors.

👾Tech/Product + Tokenomic Squads

As mentioned above, the year started with a successful funding round. This round required the minting of an additional 10% $VITA for strategic contributors. Following the 10% $VITA mint, the individuals in the DAO squads worked to allocate 6% of the total $VITA token supply to new strategic contributors. This minted allowed onboarding of new strategic members such as Pfizer Ventures, Shine Capital, and L1 Digital; decentralized science and web3 organizations like Beaker DAO and Spaceship DAO; and longevity enthusiasts including Balaji Srinivasan and Joe Betts-LaCroix. Additional technical challenges addressed by the DAO included the fractionalization of the Newcastle-Korolchuk IP-NFT and the coordination of the crowd token sale. The Tokenomics Squad also assisted with launching Vita on Optimism and Polygon. This change decreased the burden of gas fees for community members!

In 2023, the Tech/Product Squad facilitated the launch of a VitaADO member portal (vitadao.global). This portal enables VitaDAO holders to claim exclusive perks such as reduced medical testing, discounts on health products, and discounts on health insurance for digital nomads. Additionally, the team continued to improve the VitaDAO website, created a VitaDAO treasury dashboard, and designed a merch shop. The treasury was created to foster greater transparency of VitaDAO’s economics. And the merch shop features a cool hoodie!

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VitaDAO

VitaDAO is the world’s first decentralized intellectual property collective, funding and commissioning research into human longevity.