LabDAO Raises $3.6M to Decentralize Drug Discovery

The project also launched its new PLEX client that eases the burden of resource-intensive computations for scientific data.

AccessTimeIconMay 23, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. UTC
Updated May 30, 2023 at 2:44 p.m. UTC

LabDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization focused on open-source drug discovery, has raised $3.6 million in a funding round co-led by Inflection.xyz and Village Global.

Other participants in the funding round included North Island Ventures, Seed Club Ventures, ID Theory, Road Capital, Curve Labs, gmjp.lol, Molecule, Gnosis DAO, The LAO, Orange DAO, Beaker DAO, Spaceship DAO, and former Coinbase chief technology officer Balaji Srinivasan, among others.

The fundraise announcement coincided with the launch of the PLEX software platform.

PLEX is the client that lets scientists interact with the Lab exchange. The service is launching with the ability to run only computational services, while physical laboratory services will be added in the future. LabDAO has containerized resource-intensive computational services to make it easier to run data.

The output can then be linked to non-fungible tokens (NFT) for scientists to prove ownership of their data.

“Over the last couple of years, artists were able to go directly into the NFT movement. They were able to create artwork and share that with their followers. Scientists are also creators – you could say to some extent that scientists are the original creator class. They should also be able to create artwork and share that with their followers,” Niklas Rindtorff, co-founder and CEO of the Openlab Association, said during an interview with CoinDesk.

“The problem though is that science is a bit more complex. Science is a team sport – very rarely do you have one scientist that’s able to take a project all the way through to completion on their own and create something new,” he continued. “That means you need to find mechanisms to collaborate as a scientist. What we identified early is a need for an exchange where scientists can trade laboratory and computation services.”

Openlab is a Swiss-based non-profit set up by the LabDAO team.

The decentralized autonomous organization structure of LabDAO isn’t fully in place yet. LabDAO is currently focused on building out the exchange and making sure it creates utility for scientists both inside and outside of academia, said Rindtorff. LabDAO wants to have the exchange in place so that when the DAO and affiliated token are ready, there’s something to govern and an active community.

Decentralized science (DeSci) is a small but growing sector in the crypto industry that has attracted a wide range of investors. Earlier this year, health longevity-focused VitaDAO raised $4.1 million in a funding round that included the venture capital arm of pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer.

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Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.


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