Vibe Bio Seeks to Spur on Global Community for Rare Disease Research

Marisa Wexler, MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler, MS |

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A company called Vibe Biotechnology has launched to build a community of patients, scientists, and other partners to find cures for rare diseases like Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS).

“The challenge for rare diseases isn’t necessarily finding a treatment — it’s funding it,” Alok Tayi, PhD, co-founder and CEO of Vibe Bio, said in a press release. “For the first time, Vibe Bio is giving patients with rare and overlooked diseases access to the funding and community support they need to develop cures and ownership over the results.”

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Tayi and co-founder Joshua Forman created the company after Tayi’s daughter was born with a disease that lacked treatment options, despite being well-understood.

“One in 10 Americans is living with a rare disease. For too many, the time it would take to develop a cure is longer than the time they have left to live,” Tayi said.

Vibe Bio hopes to use a decentralized autonomous organization, or DAO, to create an online community connecting different groups with interest in curing rare diseases, including patients, researchers, and investors. Members of the community can work together to propose and fund potential projects — each of which will be vetted by scientists and financial experts — using the $VIBE governance token, a form of cryptocurrency that the company plans to launch later this year.

Sales from the $VIBE tokens will be used to fund these projects initially. Projects that eventually lead to commercialization or licensing of a potential therapy will also generate revenue for the DAO that can then be used to fund future research.

Vibe Bio has already launched two independent biotechnology companies working on rare diseases: one focused on a rare form of epilepsy called Lafora disease that was founded in cooperation with the patient advocacy organization Chelsea’s Hope, and another focused on neurofibromatosis type 2 — a condition that causes benign tumors to form in the nervous system — founded along with the organization NF2 Biosolutions.

Rare disease communities often feel as though they must figure out treatment options and navigate these diagnoses themselves,” said Lena Ismail, executive director of Chelsea’s Hope. “Vibe Bio promises we are not alone. Alok and the team at Vibe Bio are true partners, committed to working together to build a strong community and move promising treatments forward.”

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Vibe Bio’s launch was supported by $12 million in funding led by Initialized Capital.

“Vibe Bio is building a new approach to drug development that is providing a lifeline — and renewed hope — for patients and their families,” said Parul Singh, partner at Initialized Capital. “I’m thrilled to be a part of its community and champion its mission as Vibe Bio identifies and funds medicines that will improve the quality of life for people living with rare diseases.”