VitaDAO Letter: The First DAO with a Biotech Spinoff

VitaDAO
7 min readOct 15, 2023

Despite the bear market, the VitaDAO community continues to push the boundaries of decentralized science (DeSci). This month has been particularly exciting, with developments such as the funding of ExcepGEN and the launch of MatrixBio. In this edition, we bring you the latest highlights:

  • Matrix Bio: VitaDAO’s biotech startup
  • How to buy $VITA on Optimism
  • Pfizer’s representation at DeSci Berlin
  • Recent VitaDAO proposals
  • Awareness Working Group Contributor: Victoria Forest

🧪A Landmark Achievement: VitaDAO’s Biotech Startup

Ever heard of naked mole rats (NMR)? These long-lived rodents are cancer-resistant, thanks in part to the abundance of high molecular weight hyaluronic acid (HMW-HA) in their tissues. Previous research by the Gorbunova lab has demonstrated this link between cancer resistance and the abundance of HMW-HA.

This month, VitaDAO proudly became the FIRST DAO to kickstart a biotech company. This firm, Matrix Biosciences, will use insights from the Gorbunova lab to leverage the anti-cancer and pro-longevity properties of HMW-HA from NMR in humans. The creation of Matrix Biosciences marks a significant stride in both the field of longevity research and VitaDAO’s portfolio.

🤑$VITA on Optimism

$VITA is now on Optimism! Have you ever tried to make a transaction on the Ethereum mainnet and found yourself thinking “Not in this economy⛽️😫.” Say farewell to high Ethereum mainnet gas costs and take advantage of the ability to purchase $VITA on Optimism!

Unsure how to get started? Check out our step-by-step guide on acquiring $VITA on Optimism. Once you have $VITA, you can even use Velodrome to provide liquidity on Optimism. Additionally, $VITA is also accessible on the Gnosis chain. The expansion to L2s will hopefully make obtaining $VITA cheaper, more convenient, and more accessible for all HODLers!

📚Hypothesis Prize: Exploring Winning Topics

Maria Marinova has been busy collaborating with winners of the Longevity Prize. First-place winner Carlos Galicia suggested studying rejuvenation during embryogenesis as a means to combat age-related decline. Maria and Carlos explore this concept in their article, “The Key to Longevity Could Be Hidden in Embryos.”

Second-place winner Rakhan Aimbetov proposed focusing on proteostasis disruption in aging. Specifically, he focused on the role of methylglyoxal (MGO), a byproduct of sugar metabolism. In “Sugar Byproducts and How They May Influence Aging,” Maria and Rakhan explain how sugar remnants may contribute to aging. Stay tuned for the third article in the series featuring Shahaf Peleg’s investigation of mitochondrial dysfunction!

🌎VitaDAO in the Spotlight

  • VitaDAO’s global impact has earned a mention in Nature. We are proud to be one of several decentralized autonomous organizations contributing to innovative research funding methods. The transparency of blockchain and the collaborative spirit of our community has been recognized and featured in Nature Biotech, which notes: “Decentralized autonomous organizations are growing as alternative research funding models, but are also strong scientific communities. We should get on board.”
  • ExcepGEN, a project backed by VitaDAO, has secured new funding! ExcepGEN has raised an additional $4M, bringing total seed funding to $14M. Their RNAx platform is revolutionizing vaccine development, aiming to “unlock nucleic acid medicines.”
  • Michael Baran, a partner at Pfizer Ventures, spoke at DeSci Berlin. Discussing challenges in the pharmaceutical industry, Michael emphasized the need for new sources of revenue growth. He provided insights into how pharma allocates its R&D budget, touching on the limited budget for external R&D partnerships.

“Pharma has deep pockets… it’s true, but I think the money for early-stage R&D or external partnerships is not what you might think.”

📣Community Approved: What YOU voted for!

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

VDP-120 (An assessment of Oisín Biotechnologies): Oisín Biotechnologies is a multi-asset longevity biotech company pioneering genetic medicines to combat sarcopenia and other age-related diseases. Oisín is working to deliver DNA and RNA through a Fusogenix Proteo-Lipid in (PLV) platform, to alter cell behavior. The company’s lead candidate aims to build muscle without exercise, which could be used as a therapy to strengthen older people. VITA token holders agreed with the Longevity-Dealflow WG’s and senior reviewers’ assessment of this company.

VDP-119 (Proposal to empower a member services squad): The formation of the Member Services Squad as anticipated in VDP-69 was intended to create a team to focus on the development of new offerings for VitaDAO token-holders and contributors. This proposal served to empower a Member Services Squad to roll out new services and gave the squad the authority to make necessary legal and logistical decisions to launch a “Member Services” portal.

VDP-118 (An assessment of GERO): This proposal was an assessment of GERO, a company using AI and ML to analyze datasets to discover novel treatments for chronic age-related diseases. To accomplish their goal of doubling human health- and lifespan within the current generation, the company has trained a large generative model of human health on a large dataset of longitudinal, real-world medical histories. The model is being used to predict future health outcomes similarly to how Large Language Models (LLMs) anticipate the next word in a sentence. Unlike LLMs, GERO’s models are physics-based and interpretable, allowing exploration of the relationship between the aging process and diseases.

💪Exercise Your Right to Vote

Visit VitaDAO’s governance hub (Discourse) to engage with, vote on, and discuss proposals before they are moved to Snapshot. Together, we can shape the future of VitaDAO and accelerate decentralized science.

👋Meet Awareness Working Group Contributor: Victoria Forest

Victoria Forest, an integral member of VitaDAO’s Awareness and SciComm Working Groups, plays a role as VitaDAO’s DeSci illustrator and Instagram manager. When not contributing to VitaDAO, Victoria enjoys working as a freelance web designer, learning about longevity, and practicing pilates. In my interview with Victoria, we dive into her journey with VitaDAO, her interest in longevity, and her role within the DAO community.

How did you first get involved in VitaDAO?

I found out about VitaDAO before the official launch in 2021. At that time, I wasn’t yet involved in the web3 space. A few months later, I joined the community calls, became more curious about the vision, and got excited to understand how DeSci works and potentially be part of this movement. It was great to spend some time with the team at the first offsite, interview them (Meet the Vitalians YouTube list), learn about the mission, connect, and from there, choose to dedicate even more time to it.

What is your role within VitaDAO?

I’m a member of the Community & Awareness working group, where my responsibilities include developing media materials, creating illustrations, maintaining our social media accounts to keep our community informed, and interviewing experts in the field, among other tasks.

What do you feel is VitaDAO’s biggest strength compared to traditional longevity biotech startups?

VitaDAO’s primary advantage is its decentralized and community-centered approach. Unlike conventional startups, VitaDAO leverages blockchain and decentralized technologies to engage a wider group of contributors, investors, and experts globally. This approach encourages increased inclusivity, collaboration, and diversity in the quest for longevity research and biotech innovation. It also allows for a more transparent and efficient allocation of resources and decision-making, potentially accelerating progress in the field.

What has surprised you the most about VitaDAO?

What has impressed me the most about VitaDAO is the remarkable transparency in how the DAO operates, the openness of its team members, and the effective leverage of blockchain technology to bring tangible value to the real world.

What advice do you have for other Web Designers who are interested in getting involved in DeSci?

I’d say, first and foremost, be curious about the space. Take the time to learn how blockchain and decentralization can be applied to real-world problems. Once you’ve got a grasp of that, seek out a community whose mission resonates with you, something you genuinely care about. If you find it fulfilling and it aligns with your values, then dive in. Attend conferences, go to meetups, and start networking. You’ll likely discover the perfect place where you can contribute your skills and, at the same time, feel great about what you’re doing.

Any closing thoughts for readers?

Think about the future you want, both for yourself and your loved ones. Can you picture yourself growing old and experiencing frailty and suffering? How about witnessing your parents and grandparents endure the pains of aging and age-related diseases? We need to do more than what we’re currently doing. Talk to everyone you know, and share with them the possibility of having a longer healthspan and potentially a longer lifespan. Think about the abundant world we can create if we unite our efforts right now, at this critical moment. Also, consider joining us at Vitalia in Prospera, a movement dedicated to initiating a longevity network society.

🤝Thanks for Reading!

Want to stay up to date with all that’s going VitaDAOn? Join us on Discord, subscribe to our Twitter, and follow our Instagram! You can also find updated information on VitaDAO’s funded projects and an updated treasury dashboard on our website.

--

--

VitaDAO

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