This was the genesis event, where the first 10% of its tokens were minted and sold. That means nobody, including the initiators, got any token allocation or pre-sale. Rather, 635 participants bid the maximum amount that they were willing to pay per token and at the end everyone got the tokens at the same price, fairly determined by the free market.
VitaDAO will use the funds raised to fund research into extending human life- and health-span, accelerating and democratizing longevity therapeutics. The end goal is to bring aging under medical control, allowing people to be healthier for longer.
The new VITA token will enable researchers, patients, and longevity enthusiasts to decide which research projects will get funding
VitaDAO aims to create a funding ecosystem that can provide grants to the tune of $50K to $500K in just 2 weeks, faster than existing funding pipelines. As research is funded and completed, intellectual property (IP) from the work will accrue to the DAO, which can then leverage it to generate revenues that are in turn used to reward and compensate DAO members for their contributions, as well as to fund further research.
While IP protections are designed to incentivize innovation in theory, IP ownership as a business model has barely evolved in the past century and is still mainly driven by extensive legal contracts and bureaucratic complexities. IP is one of the most valuable asset classes in the world but it remains rigid, largely illiquid, and difficult to transfer.
Moreover, IP owners and sellers seeking to monopolize commercial value have incentives to withhold negative research data. Pharma tends to only share positive research data which leads companies to waste enormous resources repeating each others’ failed experiments. Side effects or indicators of lower effectiveness of the owned compounds are downplayed in favor of profit maximization. Valuable research findings are lost to the broader scientific community and not considered during patient treatment. Promising drug candidates often fall to the wayside for organizational, political, or competitive reasons.
Now, imagine research on a new breakthrough insulin treatment funded by diabetics who believe in it and stand to benefit the most from it. What would this do to access and pricing?
In the traditional biopharma approach, the public and patients cannot have any real ownership in IP, even though their tax dollars fund much of the early-stage development.
When the few pharma leaders are making decisions, profits are maximized, but the most important stakeholders are neglected – patients and scientists.
The secret sauce: VitaDAO has built a way to attach IP to NFTs, allowing real world assets to be held on-chain.
With VitaDAO, those working on new therapies and anyone who provides valuable work or resources can be empowered through VITA tokens and become active participants in a cause spearheaded by the people, for the people.
Ownership of VITA allows the holder to participate in the democratic governance of VitaDAO, directing its research, accessing and monetizing its data repositories, and managing its IP portfolio.
Biotech universities are untapped goldmines of valuable IP that was previously not investable until a startup would be spun out. By decentralizing IP ownership, the investment and capital injections can happen at an earlier stage and new open commercialization models can incentivize their development.
The first project proposed to get funding is led by Morten Scheibye Knudsen and carried out at the University of Copenhagen.
The Scheibye-Knudsen Lab has identified 10+ FDA-approved medications that appear to have a strong effect on lifespan following analysis using advanced machine learning. They have analyzed 1.04 billion prescriptions from 4.8 million individuals over 50 years in The Danish National Health Service Prescription Database and correlated this with the survival of individuals prescribed certain drugs. They received exclusive access to carry out this work.
“I really like the idea that everybody can get ownership of this IP,” says Morten. “As a researcher, I don’t think any research is driven by financial gains, so for me, this altruistic idea of allowing everybody to actually get part of what we’re doing, I think it’s really exciting.”
VitaDAO is currently being tested on the Ethereum Rinkeby network, and will soon be deployed on the main Ethereum network for the first votes to be cast.
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Bengaluru Bytes journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.