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Announcing the First VitaDAO Research Project: The Longevity Molecule

May 7, 2021

1.04 billion prescriptions
4.8 million individuals
50 years of The Danish National Health Service Prescription Database

We’re excited to introduce the opening project to be funded by VitaDAO — the world’s first decentralized intellectual property collective. The research project is led by Morten Scheibye Knudsen and carried out by the Scheibye-Knudsen Lab in Copenhagen.

Who is VitaDAO?

VitaDAO is a new type of entity in the biotech research space, and its members will own the intellectual property assets that result from the projects it supports and funds. Its mission is to extend the human lifespan by researching, financing, and commercializing longevity therapeutics in an open and democratic manner.

Introducing The Scheibye-Knudsen Lab

The Scheibye-Knudsen lab focuses on developing interventions for aging and age-associated diseases using in silico, in vitro, and in vivo approaches.

The lab discovered that DNA damage leads to changes in certain metabolites and that replenishment of these molecules may alter the rate of aging in model organisms.

These findings, and the ones from other groups, suggest that normal aging and age-associated diseases may be malleable to similar interventions. The hope is to develop interventions that will allow everyone to live healthier, happier, and more productive lives.

Take a short tour of the lab with the founder, Morten:

The Scheibye-Knudsen Lab team comprises a diverse group of distinguished biotech scientists working together in the lab in Copenhagen.

Research Project Overview: The Longevity Molecule

In an unprecedented effort, using advanced machine learning technologies, the Scheibye-Knudsen lab has 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.

The Scheibye-Knudsen Lab has identified 10+ FDA-approved medications that appear to have a strong effect on lifespan following analysis.

This project will focus on optimizing, repurposing, and re-formulating the three drugs with the strongest and most significant impact on the human lifespan.

Preparing the fly cultures for testing.

Project Significance

Since aging is the largest risk factor for most diseases, discovering compounds able to extend the healthy lifespan could have profound implications not only on disease progression but also on society. Indeed, this project may be transformative for healthcare and everyone’s well-being and is particularly attractive from a commercial standpoint considering the current 200 billion+ USD anti-aging market.

Project Timeline

Pre-Clinical Studies 1: Testing in Fruit Flies and Human Cells — 12–24 Months (IN PROGRESS)

The first step is testing the identified drug’s ability to attenuate features of aging in a controlled laboratory setting. Here, we will test the molecules in both human cells and the animal model Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies).

We are testing the drugs in human cells with urgency to understand how the molecules affect human cellular aging. Fruit flies are used extensively in biomedical research and specific aging research as they have a short lifespan of about 60 days. We have exclusive access to a deep-learning-based technology ( that can investigate aging in thousands of flies at once.

Fruit Fly (Drosophila melanogaster)

Pre-Clinical Studies 2: Testing in Mouse Models — 12–18 Months

After successful testing in fruit flies and cells, we will perform compound optimization in cell lines and proceed to test the compound for age-attenuation in mice. We will utilize medicinal chemistry for compound optimization, allowing better efficacy, solubility, stability, and tolerability. We will specifically test toxicology on optimized compounds for the mice and how age-associated features, such as hearing, are affected.

Clinical Trials 1: Human Trials — TBD

We will transition to clinical trials and test the age-attenuating effect of the compound in healthy volunteers. Currently, the Scheibye-Knudsen lab is running three clinical trials for aging interventions in humans. Fortuitously, Morten Scheibye-Knudsen also runs the largest recruitment platform for volunteers for clinical trials in Denmark.

Introducing the founder

“For Dr. Scheibye-Knudsen, associate professor at the University of Copenhagen, aging is the most significant risk factor for most diseases, and damage to our genome is likely the cause of aging.

His focus is on exploring the physiological consequences of DNA damage and what we can do to intervene in genotoxic insults. His goal is to understand, modulate, and treat aging and age-related diseases.

In addition to his academic activities, Morten has founded several companies, including,,, and He is a board member at the Longevity Vision Fund and serves as Chief Editor at Frontiers Media.”

Morten Scheibye-Knudsen, Founder of the Scheibye-Knudsen Lab in Copenhagen (Reference —

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