Pfizer-backed VitaDAO spins out biotech company

VitaDAO, which funds longevity research, announced the $300,000 financing of a biotechnology company, the DAO’s first such investment


PowerUp/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


VitaDAO is announcing the launch of Matrix Biosciences, a biotechnology company led by University of Rochester anti-aging researcher Vera Gorbunova. The launch comes with $300,000 in initial financing, with more funding to come in early 2024. 

The company will expand on Gorbunova’s research on the long life spans and cancer resistance of naked mole rats and examine whether a compound found in the rats could improve human lifespan.

Launched in 2021, VitaDAO funds “longevity” research aimed at extending human life. The DAO currently funds 20 projects, primarily focused on potential “moonshot” contributions to longevity science. Todd White, a VitaDAO core contributor, compared the DAO to an endowment fund, because members don’t take a profit from the research and all revenue is sent to the DAO treasury to fund other projects.

The DAO closed a $4 million funding round earlier this year, headlined by an investment from Pfizer Ventures.

VitaDAO invests in “valley of death”-stage ideas where research is still unproven, White said, adding that Pfizer once put significant resources into an early-stage investment team but judged such investments too risky before investing in VitaDAO.

“They realized we were doing what they were trying to do, but we were doing it better and at a fraction of the cost. And so this was kind of this real sort of Web3 awakening for Pfizer,” White said.

Being a community of researchers, VitaDAO has positioned itself within the “decentralized science” movement and a growing interest in DAOs as research funding tools. 

White said the DAO has struggled to ingratiate itself into the university milieu as blockchain technology struggles to rehab its image in the wake of the FTX collapse. But White feels like the niche field of longevity research shares an ethos with crypto.

Both worlds believe “we’re not going to go through this traditional thing. This is stupid. There’s a whole bunch of impediments here,” White said. “We’re retesting all the original assumptions.”

Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.


Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Research report - cover graphics (1).jpg


In this report, we dive into crypto private market data to gather insights on where the future of the industry is headed. Despite a notable downturn in private raises, capital continues to infuse promising projects that aim to transform payments, banking, consumer experiences, community, and more, with 2023 being the fourth-largest year for crypto venture capital.


BUZZ holds shares of Coinbase, Robinhood and MicroStrategy


Opinion: Even though I didn’t pay for my “Diamond Hands” burger with BTC, don’t let that fool you into thinking that crypto’s development is futile


The results mark “a major positive inflection point,” one analyst says, as the exchange carries net income momentum into a crypto rally


While the slate of 10 US spot bitcoin funds have tallied $4.6 billion of net inflows thus far, half of the field is lagging the leaders


Trading volumes totalled $154 billion in Q4, including $125 billion in institutional volume


DeFi on Bitcoin is all the rage right now and Stacks is positioned to benefit