VitaDAO Letter: A New Journal, Ambassador Program, and New Steward!

VitaDAO
14 min readJul 27, 2023

Inside this Newsletter:

  • The First Edition of VitaDAO’s Journal, The Longevist
  • VITA-FAST Recap: Redifing IP-NFT Governance
  • Building Collaborative Connections with an Ambassador Program
  • Meet VitaDAO’s New Dealflow Steward: Eleanor Davies

🧬The Longevist is LIVE

VitaDAO is thrilled to announce the launch of “The Longevist,” an overlay journal that curates promising longevity research. In the inaugural edition, we present the top ten preprints from Q1 2023, as handpicked by an esteemed panel of experts. The expert curators involved in the selection process are renowned professionals and scientists in the field of longevity.

Three a few noteworthy studies featured in the inaugural “The Longevist” feature:

🤑VITA-FAST: A Novel Funding Module

In collaboration with Molecule, VitaDAO proudly launched VITA-FAST, a groundbreaking initiative that has redefined governance of Intellectual Property (IP) and Research and development (R&D) data through the use of IP-NFTs (Intellectual Property Non-Fungible Tokens). VITA-FAST tokens represent ownership in the IP pool and grant holders the power to participate in governance, make crucial IP licensing decisions, influence experiment priorities, and govern research projects. Thus, the creation of tokenized IP pools using IPNFTs allows DAOs to cooperatively manage collective IP while co-governing development and commercialization.

The IP pools, governed by token holder-set rules, provide solutions to existing challenges in the biotech IP market. In minimizing risk management, aiding in capital formation, and increasing patient involvement in therapeutic development, this transparent process is revolutionary. Its transparent and efficient process promises to accelerate scientific progress and foster innovation. It is possible to imagine that the creation of liquid and efficient markets can solve some of the issues in the current funding of bio IP.

The VITA-FAST initiative was completed in conjunction with the Korolchuk Lab, a lab led by cellular biologist Prof. Viktor Korolchuk. Dr. Korolchuk’s research focuses on identifying novel bioactive autophagy inducers, a process that plays a vital role in the body’s cellular health. By administering potential activators to cells unable to initiate autophagy, Dr. Korolchuk aims to demonstrate the specificity and effectiveness of compounds in promoting autophagy.

This project is still young and developing! For example, VDP-111, proposal passed on Snapshot, proposes the election of a project lead by VITA-FAST token holders and outlines a VITA-FAST governance framework.

“This is the next phase in the evolution of decentralized patient communities, to directly contribute to, govern, and be rewarded for progressing valuable longevity research.” — Alex Dobrin

🌎VitaDAO’s Ambassador Program: Building Connections and Facilitating Collaboration ​

In March 2023, VitaDAO community leaders, Gavin and Cat, proposed the creation of a VitaDAO Ambassador Program. The goal of the program was to propagate DAO outreach and increase DAO engagement.

This month in London, Bharat, Maria Maroniva PhD, and Eleanor Davies spoke at the Ambassador Program’s first official event. They touched on DeSci and VitaDAO’s significant contributions to shaping the field. This event was just the beginning of a much larger initiative!

The VitaDAO Ambassador Program aims to enable individuals from different jurisdictions to organize in-person meet-ups, bridging the gap between virtual and face-to-face interactions. Many in the DAO community will agree that the value of interaction and engagement is much higher when meeting mission-aligned people in person! To select a group of DAO Ambassadors, an application was sent out. Thus far, we have received an overwhelming response with over 170 applications to become a VitaDAO Ambassador! Stay tuned to hear more about VitaDAO’s selected ambassadors and events occurring near you!

🗣️VitaDAO in the Wild

📣Community Approved: What YOU voted for!

Thanks to the support of the VitaDAO community, multiple proposals successfully passed this month! Notable proposals include:

VDP-89 Passed! This proposal was an assessment of ExcepGen Inc’s RNA therapeutics for longevity. In passing, this proposal signifies that VitaDAO supports funding $100,000 to develop a new generation of vaccines with this RNAx platform.

VDP-93 Passed! As a result of this VDP, VDP nomenclature, and phase 2 proposal workflow will be altered to ensure visibility of risks and legal review before on-chain voting.

VDP-96 Passed! With this proposal, VitaDAO will provide a loan of $400k to VHF, secured against the underlying equity in companies VHF.

VDP-101 Passed! As a result, VitaDAO will set up an operating company in Canada to execute VitaDAO Coordination Working Group functions such as finance, member services, and service provider management.

VDP-102 Passed! VitaDAO will now implement 7 new tools to better manage the growing portfolio of the VitaDAO projects more effectively and efficiently.

VDP-107 Passed! As a result of VDP-107, Laurance Ion stepped down as Dealflow Steward and Eleanor Davies was elevated as Interim Dealflow Steward.

VDP-108 Passed! With the passing of VDP-108, VitaDAO will complete an annual review of compensation/governance allocations as outlined in VDP-72.

💪Exercise Your Right to Vote

Check out VitaDAO’s governance hub (Discourse) to engage with, vote on, and discuss proposals before they are moved to Snapshot. Your input is invaluable, and together, we can shape the future of VitaDAO and accelerate decentralized science.

👋Meet VitaDAO’s Dealflow Steward: Eleanor Davies

Eleanor Davies, VitaDAO’s New Dealflow Steward, brings a wealth of experience in fund operations, healthcare, and biotech consulting. A graduate of the University of Manchester, she has grown as a professional serving in Marwood Group healthcare and biotech consultancy, co-founding a company and helping to raise funds, deploy capital, and manage the portfolio at ODX, a Silicon Valley-based accelerator. More recently, she has actively engaged with the DeSci community, serving as COO of LabDAO. This month, I had the privilege of sitting down for a brief chat with Eleanor:

It’s great to meet you, Eleanor! I would love to know a little more about your background. How did you first get involved in VitaDAO?

Hi! Thank you for featuring me in the VitaDAO newsletter. A little about me: I come from a less traditional background. I first started off studying languages, combined with international policy, business, and history. This gave me the flexibility to look into different industries that were a good fit for me. I found that I had an advantage as a language learner in the UK, because not many of us Brits speak other languages. If you show you are highly motivated, ambitious, and willing to take on new challenges, it is generally quite well-regarded by graduate employers.

From the start, I have always had a lot of side projects and interests. I have a long-standing curiosity in biotech, specifically in pushing the limitations of human biology — is life extension really possible? How would this work in practice? I started by working at IBM, and later in M&A advisory across industries in the German speaking (DACH) mid-market for private equity transactions. With time, I found myself gravitating towards the biotech side of M&A.

Between then and working in consulting, I co-founded an AI-based recruitment company — that was a lockdown existential crisis! It came out of the frustration I witnessed by the number of people who lost their jobs during the pandemic. What if I could change the way of looking at the job market? Tldr; it didn’t work out, but it was a great learning opportunity. There was a market fit and we were generating revenue, but it was more about the team dynamic.

I then worked in consulting mid- to large-cap private equity clients for healthcare and biotech transactions. The consultancy specialized in advising the commercial implications of political and regulatory change across the UK and EU to domestic and transatlantic clients. Early during my tenure, the consultancy Director left, so I had to step up and lead in the role of Director — from the experience level of an Analyst. It was a very steep learning trajectory, but I saw it as an ideal opportunity to step up. I did a lot of self-directed learning, not only for interfacing with clients, but also for company growth, negotiation, and leadership. Alongside the consulting, I also doubled company sales targets, doubled the pipeline for marketing prospects, and transformed the marketing channels. A lot of progress in a short amount of time!

I then moved on to work at On Deck’s ODX, which is an accelerator based in Silicon Valley. I was working in fund operations, working across raising funds to deploying capital, conducting due diligence, and portfolio management. Almost similar to what I’m doing at VitaDAO today, Sadly, due to the market conditions, I had to leave ODX, but this allowed me to pursue my nerdy side interest — DeSci!

That leads me to today. I had been a “lurker” in both the VitaDAO and LabDAO Discord servers for some time and finally decided to do something about it. I was introduced to Niklas from LabDAO at DeSci Berlin — I was so motivated by the vision, the highly intellectual community, the level of passion, and mission alignment in the ecosystem. So, I made the leap! For me, DeSci could be hugely disruptive for the scientific community, funders, policy makers, and beyond. In the consulting world, I had seen a misalignment between politicians and regulators, funders and companies, healthcare insurers, and patients. Not only in capital allocation, but in communication, education, and expectations. For me, a community-first, community-governed approach could create the new standard.

As part of the core team at LabDAO, Niklas and I led the fundraise ($3.6M). It was a challenging time to raise in a bear market, but it was gratifying upon completion. I also worked across legal, tokenomics, investor relations, and treasury management… all-in-all, a bit of Swiss Army Knife-ing. It was hugely satisfying to see LabDAO through to maturation. During its PMF phase, LabDAO pivoted to tools versus the Lab Fund, which I was to lead. As everything was up and running, my role eventually phased out. By that time I was closely following VitaDAO and knew that there was a need for somebody to work in deal flow. It was the ideal time to join. Now, I’m still advising LabDAO, but full-time at VitaDAO.

You mention that you find DeSci to be promising. What drew you to DeSci and where do you see DeSci going in the future?

There are many aspects that I find interesting about DeSci; for me, I’m excited about tools, funding, and globally distributed venture building. This is why I am confident in VitaDAO and why I’m motivated to make it succeed. We are looking at a broader pool of capital for higher risk funding opportunities, and zooming in on the early, idea stage of lab research projects. The IP-NFT is particularly interesting here. VitaDAO and the community, as part of the Decentralized Tech Transfer Spinout framework, work with the scientific team to build projects from idea, to IP commercialization, to maturation. To my knowledge, this hasn’t been done before with Web3 and DeFi technology.

Also, never before has there been such a globally distributed community of mission-aligned people to work together in this way. The thing that I find special about the VitaDAO community is that world leading talent, especially in the dealflow working group, participate out of sheer interest. There is a real mission alignment here. And despite some DAO inefficiencies, its youngness, and teething issues, DAO members stick around.

I’m also excited about the IP-NFT, pioneered by Molecule. The non-dilutive funding, and the ability to get more proceeds for project development in this manner is a pretty innovative way — also high risk, but high reward — of funding a project and getting more community interest. It promotes openness, making research a lot less siloed and more collaborative. And even if it doesn’t work out at least we’ve tried. But, we’re making waves already.

You’ve touched on the strengths of DeSci and some of the strengths of VitaDAO in particular. Is there a particular VitaDAO project you are most excited about?

There is — Matrix Bio! I’m also PM’ing that alongside Anthony Schwartz as a part of the Builder Squad. It’s a moonshot, but this could have a huge payoff for the LongBio world. We are working with one of the world’s leading aging researchers, Vera Gorbunova. Not only is she a pleasure to work with, but also her research is groundbreaking. The fact that she has her belief in VitaDAO to incubate her project towards a point of commercialisation, is compelling and exciting.

Another would be Viktor Korolchuk’s autophagy project. Again I think that not only is it an under-resourced side of longevity aging research, but also that he and the Newcastle University have the conviction that VitaDAO can build and incubate the project, using an innovative funding and governance method. This is a strong signal for me.

As a result of VDP-107, you’re now Longevity Dealflow Working Group Steward. In your short time in this role, what has surprised you the most about VitaDAO? What are you most excited about in taking on this role?

First of all, I’m very very grateful for those who voted in favor and have the confidence in me to be the Dealflow Steward. What am I most excited about? I’d say the support of the community. Putting the collective wisdom in the deal flow working group to great use! We have so much talent; so many amazing people are eager to get involved with the opportunities that come our way. For me, something that dealflow needs is great operations. It is the cornerstone of making things work: ramping it up and scaling it up to a mode of maximum efficiency. I’d also like to ramp up Tech Transfer Office outreach, project sourcing, and both start-up and early-stage IP projects. And have an engine that enables this to happen: a great funnel and a great process. As boring as they sound, you need these to make things work.

Also knowing how to engage with the community in different stages. We have so many talented people who are amazing in different aspects of the deal flow process. It is knowing what incentives are, and how contributors should be incentivized in the DAO from the start; something which is still being tested out in the Web3 ecosystem. And, how can we be efficient enough to become the world’s best longevity research funding organization? How can we become the first place that people think of when looking for funding, looking for education, or an amazing community, when they think of longevity? That is what I want for VitaDAO. I want it to be on the UN’s radar. Dream big.

When I first joined the VitaDAO Discord, I initially had no idea about all the work that goes on behind the scenes at VitaDAO on the Dealflow side of things. There is a lot more work that goes on before projects are presented on Discourse.

It’s true. From automating the dealflow funnel to refining IP strategy with projects, to Friday pitch sessions and onboarding new members — we are taking VitaDAO from 0 to 1. If anyone wants to get involved, come to an onboarding call! I lead the calls with community member, Ryan Spangler, and it’s a great first point of entry to join the working group. We go through terms, voting, the nuances of dealflow, DAO-ism, and how VitaDAO is different from a traditional venture studio or VC. Why is it a not-for-profit? What is an IP-NFT? I find the best way to get great engagement when onboarding new community members to deal with the flow, is to have a chat instead of reading through documentation. To anyone who wants to get involved, feel free to reach out!

Where do you see VitaDAO 100 years from now?

I wonder if VitaDAO will have solved aging by 100 years? First off, I want VitaDAO to be the biggest name in longevity. This involves being a well-oiled machine. People come in because they’ve heard about our reputation in longevity and for being the best DAO that works to maximum efficiency. I’d like to have had successful exits (everyone wants successful exits), and successful spinouts that will have IPO’d. Happy founders. Happy community members. A cyclicality of members who come, build companies, grow it, scale it, exit, come back, and continue. On the network state side, bridging successful spinouts with the possibilities achieved by a longevity network state is another goal. Leveraging the more friendly regulatory pathways in specific jurisdictions could be an ingenious way that VitaDAO can expedite scientific progress — if done correctly. Zuzalu was an amazing way of showing us this potential. What about novel cures or treatments that are more financially accessible — or generally more accessible. That’s another dream, and I hope we can weigh in there, too. It’d be amazing for VitaDAO to be a front-runner in changing how cures come to market and also how we behave around human health- and lifespan.

I’ve enjoyed chatting with you today! Before we end, any closing thoughts for readers?

Again, I am very very appreciative of being the Steward in Dealflow. Of having the support of the community. Reach out if you are interested in getting involved in dealflow, interested in knowing more about spinouts, the builder squad, and generally getting involved. If you are a builder. If you are an operator. If you’re an academic. If you are interested in pursuing a project, a side project, and looking for funding. Also please reach out or apply. I am always interested in looking for new opportunities and the same goes for the working group. I’d also love to hear from the community about why they are interested in longevity: what they see in VitaDAO, what keeps people coming, and how we can collectively build on that vision. Because it is not just the Stewards, it’s everyone here. Which is what makes this so unique!

Thank you for your time today! I’m excited to see a female steward! It is exciting to continue to see more women get involved as members of the VitaDAO community!

I would love to use this feature as an opportunity to encourage more young women to step up and be a part of the conversation. They are wonderful and I love working with them, but the ratio of men to women in scientific research and web3 is still disproportionate. I see DeSci as a startup in itself. It is an emerging industry, and therefore, the perfect opportunity to pave the way to create new standards. To make a place for ourselves. I want to see more women!

🤝Thanks for Reading!

Want to get involved in VitaDAO? Have a special skill set? Join an onboarding meeting to learn more about ways to contribute to the growing community! Want to stay up to date with all that’s going VitaDAOn? Join us on Discord, subscribe to our Twitter, and follow our Instagram!

Additionally, VitaDAO’s website (https://www.vitadao.com/) contains updated information on funded projects and a treasury dashboard.

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VitaDAO

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