If many cases if Darpa funds something it's because the technology is so risky that it would never get funded privately. So you can often assume that if Darpa funded a project that it has been deemed more likely not to succeed by rational companies with normal risk tolerances. Most advances are made incrementally building on previous advances. But large leaps in technology require out of the box thinking to discover advancements which come from attempting to achieve something others either never considered or that others thought would not work. Usually the others were right and these projects fail.
Darpa also funds projects that are considered too unconventional to get normal funding but may result in a new ways of achieving operational successes that were previously not considered by the main stream because they are unconventional in nature. Drones would be an example of this. There is no rocket science to making drones but using them is a new unconsidered paradigm so the military had little experience with them and thus didn't seriously think they needed them. Once they were demonstrated to be effective then of course everyone and their brother wanted them.
Research into lowering the cost of titanium production using unconventional techniques has been something most companies are not willing to fund because the likelihood of success is considered too low. Darpa would be in the business of funding such projects which most likely would fail. Now days existing titanium companies are so busy that they won't even take Darpa's money so Darpa has to go to what I often term "research whores" who will promise your anything you want to hear as long as you have money to give them. These parasites are even less likely to get results because what they are really after is just a pay check. Even if they did succeed in demonstrating something in the laboratory they are usually too impractical to turn it into a production process that can be made economically and it stops there.