The first biopharma intellectual property nonfungible token was successfully transferred to VitaDAO to fund novel longevity therapeutics at the University of Copenhagen.

Aug. 18, 2021, Basel, Switzerland — For the first time in history, nonfungible tokens are used for a transfer of intellectual property ownership in medical research. This unique milestone is a result of a partnership between Molecule, a biopharma IP marketplace; VitaDAO, a decentralized collective (decentralized autonomous organization) funding longevity research; and the University of Copenhagen. This innovation is enabled by a groundbreaking data storage solution developed by Nevermined, a Web 3.0 technology innovator.

VitaDAO, Nevermined and Molecule overcome biopharma industry challenges 

Early-stage biopharma research is the lifeblood that fuels advances in medicine. However, many domains in biopharma suffer from chronic underfunding or commercialization challenges that prevent innovation from reaching patients. Legal complexity, illiquidity of IP assets and lack of access to investors contribute to the problem for researchers. 

By applying Web 3.0 technology, Molecule enables a world where researchers get access to an open marketplace that makes novel research and IP discoverable and universally fundable, as well as distributes ownership. Nevermined’s data storage and access control frameworks create entirely new ways of how the data rights surrounding this IP can be transacted with and accessed.

VitaDAO recently became the first benefactor of this advancement. The collective used Molecule’s protocol and IP NFT framework to acquire IP resulting from longevity research conducted at the Danish Scheibye-Knudsen Lab, and transferred ownership to VitaDAO.

Paul Kohlhaas, CEO of Molecule, stated: 

“This NFT transfer marks a historic milestone for both the NFT and biopharma space. It’s the first time real-world pharma IP is transacted on a blockchain, while also moving into the custodianship of a DAO.”

Combining legal frameworks with Web 3.0 interoperability

The early-stage research phase is plagued by a phenomenon coined the Valley of Death, where funding is hard to obtain, meaning many promising discoveries never make it to market. Molecule is building a marketplace for biopharma IP. 

A specialized technical framework combines legal agreements such as IP licenses with the novel technology of NFTs and decentralized secure data storage networks that are coupled with the NFT. By ledgering ownership rights on Ethereum, Molecule is building a marketplace for liquid biopharma research data and IP via NFTs. Researchers and biotechs can list their projects and discoveries, receive funding via decentralized finance and connect directly with patients. Kohlhaas added:

“IP NFTs could effectively replace patent models and become new value drivers thanks to Nevermined’s data storage frameworks. We hope to enable myriad use cases like this, first focusing on longevity and mental health and then broadly becoming a sort of ‘OpenSea’ for biotech NFTs that help empower new research organizations such as VitaDAO.” 

Simultaneously, new vehicles to collaborate and fund research are forming in the Web 3.0 space. VitaDAO is a DAO that collectively funds early longevity research projects via its community contributors. In June 2021, it raised $5 million from hundreds of individuals via a Gnosis batch auction, placing the organization directly into the hands of its community. It is now on a mission to finance the most promising longevity research endeavors and decentralize its ownership.

Want to live forever? There’s an NFT for that

The complex requirements for storing, transferring and accessing IP-related files require more than just a standard NFT. Nevermined implemented its Access Control module to create NFTs on steroids with Molecule. These novel NFTs enable the transacting parties to engage with the underlying protected research data via federated access control. This use case has a wide range of applications in the pharmaceutical industry.

 Aitor Argomániz, chief technology officer of Nevermined, stated: 

“Access Control allows creators and owners of digital assets to attach conditions to an NFT. Think of things such as pricing, verified users, privacy parameters, etc. At the same time, it acts as a gateway to guarantee that only parties that fulfill certain conditions can get access to the underlying documents.”

The module is also cross-tech-compatible, which allows apps to make secure, critical connections between Ethereum, the cloud (for example, Amazon Web Services) and decentralized hosting (for example, Arweave). This is the only way to guarantee a Certificate of Authenticity with permanence, traceability and built-in privacy.

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Molecule is the source of this content. This press release is for informational purposes only. The information does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest.