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LabDAO is on a mission to accelerate progress in the life sciences by developing open tools and making them globally accessible. We are coming together to build a community-owned and operated exchange of wet-lab and dry-lab laboratory services.

We want to live in a world in which the ability to unleash one's potential to develop technology is not bounded by limited access to funding, hardware and distribution channels. The tools we are building together are designed to lower the barriers for inventors to raise funding, to develop technologies and to share them in a permissionless way. Put differently, we want to live in a world in which students can drop out of school because they developed a therapeutic candidate from their laptop.

The Problemโ€‹

Open source code has accelerated progress in information technology over the last 20 years. This success is enabled by the ability to share instructions (code) at low cost and to reproduce results with high reliability. In addition, the sharing of code is accelerated by technology market dynamics in which intellectual property is less relevant than time to market and trade secrets around implementation.

In contrast, open source in biomedicine has been less transformative. The high cost of reproducing life science processes and the low reliability of generating expected results has been a roadblock to open source market dynamics. In addition, sharing instructions is hampered by intellectual property and trade secrets, the primary mode of defense against competitors during the lengthy regulatory approval process.

While platforms like Amazon Web Service remove the barrier to execute code by moving hardware into the cloud, there is no comparable execution layer to facilitate the abstraction of tools and services in biomedicine. We believe the following problems hold back biomedicine today:

  • high cost and incentives around secrecy of implementing biomedical tools
  • lack of reproducibility of wet lab and dry lab biomedical tools
  • few open source communities maintaining and developing biomedical tools

The Solutionโ€‹

To accelerate progress, LabDAO develops tools, such as openlab, to enable scientists to share their specialized tools and services with eachother. Instead of going through a lengthy search for collaborators or contract research organizations (CROs), scientists can exchange services on a global marketplace. Openlab enables every biotech scientist, grad student, post-doc and professor to become an independent inventor or entrepreneur.

Payments on openlab can be both in the form of shared IP (co-ownership is the new co-authorship) or other tokens. Openlab enables the shift from a centralized market with opaque CROs and siloed research institutes towards an open peer-to-peer market for laboratory services. The majority of fees generated on the exchange flow back into open source development of life science tools within the ecosystem.

The openlab protocol and its community, LabDAO, address the above stated problems in biomedicine:

  • by creating an open market for execution of biomedical experiments between experimental designers and executors
  • by defining standards around biomedical tools to increase reproducibility and transparency
  • by incentivizing contributors to develop applications and provide instrumentation

Amazon Web Services lowered the required activation energy to start a new tech company; similarly, we are convinced openlab can spur a Cambrian explosion of new biotech companies. Existing centralized cloud labs for bio have not seen widespread adoption yet. We believe this is because of the high capital expenditure required to provide many laboratory services inhouse, the specialized level of equipment control, and the lack of an efficient pricing mechanism for these services.

Decentralized cloud labs address these limitations by offering a diversity of laboratory services on a permissionless protocol. Market dynamics offer fast feedback and incentivize the right level of abstraction for service controls. DAO and token mechanism enable this marketplace to be owned by the community using it.

The LabDAO will ensure the quality of services exchanged within its community using three mechanisms:

  1. Funds paid for transactions will be held in escrow until the user has reviewed the results coming from a purchased service. In case of conflict, an independent arbitration service can be called upon for settlement.
  2. Participants on the openlab exchange need to stake $LAB tokens proportional to the value of transactions that they are offering and consuming. In case of fraudulent behaviour, the staked $LAB tokens can be slased by the community.
  3. The community is maintaing a list of trusted service providers that are participating in the exchange. The on-chain transaction record serves as a basis for user experience ratings.

openlab map

The long term goals of LabDAO can be broken down into three stages:

  1. the introduction of the openlab marketplace will reduce the hurdles of using biomedical tools - with an initial focus on computational biology.
  2. the growth in transactions and rise in potential conflicts around service specifications will lead to the emergence of community-generated standards for biological services.
  3. the on-chain record of transactions, including metadata and data assets, will function as a dynamically evolving knowledge graph - a global laboratory notebook.

Learn moreโ€‹


New article with @aryelipman: LabDAO - What if scientists could do R&D as easily as a developer could spin up a new AWS instance? What if we could enable someone on their laptop to develop a new biotech?๐Ÿงต

โ€” Niklas Rindtorff in Denver (@Niklas_TR) November 12, 2021