Decentralised Biotech Collective VitaDAO Raises $4.1M Backed by Pfizer Ventures

Image source: VitaDAO

Quick take:

  • The strategic funding round included backing from Balaji Srinisavan and decentralised science and web3 organisations Beaker DAO and Spaceship DAO.
  • The capital will fund further longevity research projects and the spinout of VitaDAO’s first biotech startups.
  • VitaDAO will also invest in the commercialization and licensing of its IP-NFTs.

VitaDAO, a decentralised biotech collective focusing on longevity research, today announced that it has raised $4.1 million in a strategic funding round joined by Pfizer’s venture arm, Pfizer Ventures; Shine Capital, L1 Digital; decentralised science and web3 organisations Beaker DAO and Spaceship DAO.

Longevity enthusiasts Balaji Srinivasan (former CTO of Coinbase and General Partner at a16z) and Joe Betts-LaCroix (Retro Biosciences) also participated in the round. 

In June 2021, Balaji Srinivasan made a Twitter thread on longevity, saying that “longevity has the potential to be to traditional medicine what crypto is to traditional finance,” and that he was “ramping up longevity investing” and was closely watching VitaDAO.

VitaDAO is an open cooperative that anyone can join, with the goal to acquire, support, and finance new therapeutics and research data in the longevity space. The collective co-develops IP with researchers, growing a portfolio of assets represented as IP-NFTs and other tokens.

Pfizer Ventures has previously invested $500,000 in VitaDAO. The latest funding round marks Pfizer’s first time joining a DAO. The venture arm holds $VITA governance tokens through a special-purpose vehicle and participates in the DAO’s dealflow, scientific evaluation, incubation, and commercialization.

So far, VitaDAO has deployed over $3.5 million in more than 15 projects researching the extension of human life and healthspan. These include $1 million to Turn Bio, which develops mRNA medicines that induce the body to heal itself by instructing specific cells to fight disease or repair damaged tissue; and $250,000 to Scheibye-Knudsen Lab, which uses data analytics to understand the impact of drugs on human lifespan.

“We’ve also seen some of our projects move rapidly to the next stage in development — such as entering into clinical trials with Mantis Photonics and new data from the Morten Scheibye-Knudsen Lab at the University of Copenhagen and the Victor Korolchuk Lab at the University of Newcastle,” said Laurence Ion, VitaDao’s dealflow steward. “This has further proven that a highly aligned community can contribute to advancing the science and clinical innovation in longevity research.”

The collective’s newly raised capital will fund further longevity research projects and the spinout of VitaDAO’s first biotech startups. It will also invest in the commercialisation of new projects that target human aging and the licensing of its IP-NFTs in partnership with Molecule, a decentralized biotech protocol building a Web3 marketplace for research-related IP. 

In August 2021, Molecule and VitaDAO announced the first biopharma IP-NFT license agreement transaction. Over the last year, VitaDAO’s community has grown to include over 9000 longevity enthusiasts, researchers, and contributors. 

NFT technology has become an emerging use case in the science industry, especially for the new decentralised science (DeSci) movement which aims to break free from the control of centralised figures like governments and big institutions.

Last June, Molecule raised $12.7 million in seed funding. Researchers listing their projects on Molecule as IP-NFTs can get funded through NFT sales, crowdfunding or traditional equity. 

Researchers interested in getting their projects funded by VitaDAO can apply on its website.


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