TLDR: This proposal is to authorize VitaDAO to pay the remaining $250K for phase II of VDP-5, The Longevity Molecule, led by Morten Schiebye-Knudsen (MSK) from the University of Copenhagen
Background: The Longevity Molecule is a project in two phases, whose funding was approved on chain by the VitaDAO community via the VDP-5 proposal, which stipulated that:
- Phase I, worth $250k would be funded
- Phase II, worth $250k would require a new proposal (the current one)
To implement the project, a contract was signed with the University of Copenhagen. As this agreement was initiated in the early stages of VitaDAO, this was undertaken on behalf of VitaDAO by Molecule’s legal team. Additionally, the contract did not contain a clause conditioning the funding of phase II to approval by the VitaDAO community.
The project then started and phase I (primarily cell assays) was successfully completed. Not requiring a contractual approval to go on, MSK engaged phase II (primarily animal model assays) producing a lead asset earlier than expected.
This proposal is the revision of a previous version, which did not pass, based on the comments received.
The project has yielded exactly what it set out to achieve - a potential lead asset - and we want to continue a productive working relationship with MSK and Copenhagen to advance it. As part of that, MSK has kindly agreed to continue working on the project to add to the IP position at no additional cost. This may lead to an inflection point enabling funding for subsequent phases, including preclinical and clinical work via an IPT crowdsale.
VitaDAO is obligated to pay for phase II according to how the contract was written. Not paying them would damage VitaDAO’s reputation.
Corrective actions for future projects: VitaDAO is an entirely new model of funding biotech ventures. Going from zero to one does imply mistakes are made, but once recognized, corrective actions need to be taken. The outcome of our lessons-learned for this specific case are the following:
- VitaDAO commits to implement a systematic contract review process, where coherency with on-chain decision is verified
- VitaDAO commits to implement a systematic project management process. This is already partially implemented via the Portfolio Management Process, which was recently deployed, and via the Builder Squad, focused on company building projects, which was recently tested and is being reviewed at the moment
- Subsequent to community approval on 16th June 2023 VDP-101, VitaDAO has incorporated its own entity, VitaDAO Global Services. This entity acts as VitaDAO’s agent for an on behalf of VitaDAO, included but not limited to finance, communications and service provider management functions
Other actions: VitaDAO and Molecule are considering the opportunity of selling 25% of VitaDAO’s MSK IP-NFT to Molecule at cost, with the following mutual benefits:
- VitaDAO will free up cash to increase runway and fund more academic projects, improving its portfolio diversification, reducing the amount needed from upcoming raises
- Molecule recognizes the potential of MSK IP-NFT, in particular towards its fractionalization
This decision on Molecule’s participation will be addressed more in detail in a subsequent proposal.
Please vote below to approve or deny VitaDAO paying the University of Copenhagen.