VC Firm Flagship Raises $3.6B to Create, Support 25 ‘Breakthrough’ Companies

Pictured: Businessmen shaking hands/iStock, AmnajK

Pictured: Businessmen shaking hands/iStock, AmnajK

Biotech venture capital firm Flagship Pioneering is looking to fund companies focused on artificial intelligence, human health and sustainability, bringing the total raised since 2021 to $6.4 billion.

Life sciences investment firm Flagship Pioneering announced Wednesday that it has raised $3.6 billion with an eye toward creating and advancing around 25 new “breakthrough” companies.

The raise consists of $2.6 billion that will go into Flagship Fund VIII, along with $1 billion in “side funds” which include sector-specific partnerships, according to the venture capital firm. Flagship will use the money to back companies working in AI, human health and sustainability.

The investment strategy is in line with Flagship’s funding priorities in recent years. Founder and CEO Noubar Afeyan in a statement pointed out that in the last six years, the life sciences incubator has “pioneered AI-enabled platforms that transform drug discovery, speed up the drug development process and gain new insights into human health and sustainability.”

“By leveraging the power and potential of generative AI, we’re embracing a future in which companies are created and expanded in ways we have not previously experienced, with the prospect for unprecedented impact,” Afeyan said.

With Wednesday’s announcement, Flagship has now raised $6.4 billion in total funding since 2021. The VC also has aggregate operating capital of $10.9 billion and $14 billion of assets under management. Since its last fund in 2021, Flagship has poured $5.8 billion of equity capital into its ecosystem of companies.

Flagship has created more than 100 companies to date, a roster that includes some prominent industry players such as Moderna, Sana Biotechnology and Denali Therapeutics.

More recently, Flagship launched Prologue Medicines and its proprietary DELVE platform, which looks through the viral proteome for therapeutic molecules. Powered by advanced computational techniques, the start-up can then assess the potential of these viral proteins to treat diseases. Prologue debuted in May 2024 with $50 million in backing from the life sciences incubator.

In June 2023, Flagship also unveiled Empress Therapeutics. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the startup is focused on advancing small-molecule drugs by using the technological advancements from biologic drug development. Like Prologue, Empress entered the market with $50 million in funding from Flagship.

Many of Flagship’s startups have since gone on to partner with Big Pharma players. Last month, Flagship-backed ProFound Therapeutics inked a potential $7 billion contract with Pfizer to develop first-in-class therapies for obesity. In May 2024, Flagship’s Metaphore Biotechnologies entered into an obesity agreement with Novo Nordisk, leveraging its molecular mimicry approach to advance next-generation treatments.

Tristan is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, with more than eight years of experience writing about medicine, biotech and science. He can be reached at tristan.manalac@biospace.com, tristan@tristanmanalac.com or on LinkedIn.
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