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Third research collaboration signed under strategic partnership between Novo Nordisk and Flagship Pioneering to develop novel treatment approaches for cardiometabolic and rare diseases

Collaboration leverages Metaphore’s MIMIC™ platform in the discovery and development of up to two multitarget therapeutics leveraging GLP-1R and related biology for obesity management

Metaphore will jointly conduct R&D programs with Pioneering Medicines, Flagship’s in-house drug development unit, and Novo Nordisk to advance foundational and preclinical development activities

Novo Nordisk may pay up to $600 million in upfront, development, and commercial milestone payments, as well as tiered royalties on annual net sales of licensed products, to be shared between Metaphore and Pioneering Medicines; Novo Nordisk will also reimburse R&D costs and participate in a future financing round for Metaphore

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 9, 2024 – Metaphore Biotechnologies, a Flagship-founded biotechnology company designing novel therapeutics by combining machine learning and molecular mimicry, today joined Flagship Pioneering in announcing a research collaboration with Novo Nordisk to develop up to two next-generation therapeutics for obesity management.

The collaboration is signed under the broader strategic partnership between Novo Nordisk and Flagship Pioneering to develop a portfolio of novel treatment approaches for cardiometabolic and rare diseases. Pioneering Medicines, Flagship’s in-house drug development and partnerships unit, is responsible for leading the broader partnership together with Novo Nordisk’s Bio Innovation Hub, an R&D unit designed to accelerate the development of therapeutics via co-creation partnerships.

Metaphore will work jointly with Pioneering Medicines and Novo Nordisk to advance the programs through foundational activities and preclinical development, after which point Novo Nordisk could advance the programs into clinical studies.

“Through our collaboration with Metaphore we will apply a novel machine learning approach to obesity management, an area that continues to need more innovation,” said Uli Stilz, Head of the Novo Nordisk Bio Innovation Hub. “Metaphore’s platform aims to mimic the interactions between molecules with impressive accuracy by capturing their natural dynamics at the point of interface, potentially leading to therapeutics that require infrequent dosing. Our strategic framework with Flagship Pioneering continues to illustrate the value of partnerships in bringing forward disruptive technologies for therapeutic areas with unmet need.”

Obesity presents a serious disease burden, with more than 800 million adults living with obesity globally1, and opportunities remain to address the disease with new and potentially highly efficacious and durable medicines.

The MIMIC platform aims to provide a unique therapeutic design solution focused on pharmacophores, the essential set of features where a drug and its target interact. The platform intends to systematically isolate a pharmacophore with single amino acid resolution, design a molecular mimic, and then optimize the molecule with fine-tuned therapeutic properties, including function, specificity, selectivity, and multi-targeting.

The collaboration announced today will leverage Metaphore’s MIMIC platform with the goal to design multitarget therapeutics targeting the GLP-1 receptor and related biology, with the aim to create scalable, long-acting agents that will require infrequent dosing.

“Working with Novo Nordisk is a significant opportunity to apply our MIMIC platform in one of the most exciting areas of drug development and with one of the most experienced drug development teams working in obesity,” said Lovisa Afzelius, Ph.D., MBA, Origination Partner at Flagship Pioneering and Co-Founder and CEO of Metaphore. “This collaboration could further validate our unique ability to program function into therapeutic molecules with the MIMIC platform to enhance efficacy, extend durability, and optimize manufacturing for a single therapeutic addressing multiple obesity-related targets, including but not limited to the GLP-1 receptor.”

Metaphore is the third Flagship-founded company to advance research programs under the strategic partnership between Novo Nordisk and Flagship Pioneering following programs with Omega Therapeutics and Cellarity which were announced earlier this year.

“We are thrilled to be working with Metaphore Biotechnologies in partnership with Novo Nordisk to leverage Metaphore’s pioneering MIMIC platform technology to potentially advance therapeutic options for people living with obesity,” said Paul Biondi, President Pioneering Medicines, and Executive Partner, Flagship Pioneering. “With three research collaborations underway with Novo Nordisk, we are demonstrating why this novel innovation supply chain partnership that draws on the breadth and depth of expertise and experience across Novo Nordisk, Pioneering Medicines, and Flagship’s bioplatform companies represents a bigger leap in how we partner in biopharma.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Novo Nordisk may pay up to $600 million in upfront, development, and commercial milestone payments, as well as tiered royalties on annual net sales of licensed products, to be shared between Metaphore and Pioneering Medicines. Novo Nordisk will also reimburse R&D costs and participate in a future financing round for Metaphore.

About Metaphore Biotechnologies

Metaphore Biotechnologies is pioneering the power of mimicry to make previously intractable drug targets accessible and unlock breakthroughs that outperform today’s drugs for maximum patient impact. The company's MIMIC™ platform is a computationally driven bioplatform designing new therapeutics where function, specificity, and selectivity can be optimized. The company was founded in 2021 in Flagship Labs, a unit of Flagship Pioneering. For more information, visit or follow us on LinkedIn and X.

About Flagship Pioneering and Pioneering Medicines

Flagship Pioneering is a biotechnology company that invents and builds platform companies, each with the potential for multiple products that transform human health or sustainability. Since its launch in 2000, Flagship has originated and fostered more than 100 scientific ventures, resulting in more than $70 billion in aggregate value. To date, Flagship has deployed over $3.7 billion in capital toward the founding and growth of its pioneering companies alongside more than $28 billion of follow-on investments from other institutions. The current Flagship ecosystem comprises 40 companies, including Denali Therapeutics (NASDAQ: DNLI), Foghorn Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FHTX), Generate:Biomedicines, Inari, Indigo Agriculture, Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA), Omega Therapeutics (NASDAQ: OMGA), Sana Biotechnology (NASDAQ: SANA), Seres Therapeutics (NASDAQ: MCRB) and Tessera Therapeutics.

Pioneering Medicines, Flagship Pioneering’s in house drug development unit, is dedicated to conceiving and developing a broad portfolio of life-changing treatments for patients built from Flagship’s innovative platforms. Harnessing the drug development expertise of its team together with the power of Flagship's multiple scientific platforms, Pioneering Medicines explores and identifies new product concepts which are then advanced jointly with Flagship’s bioplatform companies. Pioneering Medicines also partners with external collaborators to apply its unique approach to partners’ R&D priorities. These innovation supply chain partnerships are highly co-creative strategic alliances that accelerate therapeutic innovation by bringing together partners spanning the full spectrum of drug discovery, development, and production. Pioneering Medicines’ current partners include Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

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Josephine Zorbo, Ph.D.