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Announces Innovative $285 Million Follow-on Capital Pool for Special Opportunities

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Dec. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- As Flagship Ventures enters its 17th year, the firm announced today that it is changing its name to Flagship Pioneering. Flagship's evolved name reflects the distinctive nature of its enterprise: systematically conceiving, creating, resourcing and growing first-in-category ventures to transform human health and sustainability. The announcement comes as the firm closed an innovative, follow-on capital pool, capping a year of unprecedented achievements. The $285 million Special Opportunities Fund operates alongside Flagship's most recent early-stage family of funds, Fund V, which totalled $585 million and closed in 2015. This brings the total in active capital being deployed within the next generation of ventures to $870 million, and the overall funds managed by Flagship Pioneering to $1.75 billion.

"The inspiration behind the evolved name comes from our unique process of 'Pioneering' through which we envision and make unforeseen innovations that have disruptive value potential, and systematically create new ventures to realize their promise," said Noubar Afeyan, founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering. "Through pioneering, we purposely distance ourselves from current products and advances that represent only a short leap in innovation beyond them; this is the place where industry incumbents and conventional start-ups view it as logical and reasonable to explore for what's next. Instead, Flagship's scientific ventures start by exploring unprecedented solutions for unsolved problems representing unproven value opportunities. In doing so, we discover completely new pools of value and realize them for the benefit of society and our partners."

Originally conceived in 1999 as an experiment in institutional venture creation and named NewcoGen (from New Company Generation), Flagship has consistently focused on creating and building new ventures. The firm adopted the name Flagship Ventures in 2002 as it added a more significant venture financing component to its entrepreneurial innovation roots and began supporting the growth and development of a broader portfolio of internal and external ventures.

"Pioneering is the founding act that gives rise to all of Flagship's ventures and the spirit that drives them. We are committed to building companies that become lifelong pioneers in their respective fields," said Doug Cole, managing partner. "Throughout its 16-year history, Flagship's core has been the conception and development of companies by applying a unique, disciplined process for scientific innovation and professional venture creation. This process operates within Flagship's in-house innovation foundry, VentureLabs, and represents a disruptive alternative to both conventional venture capital and start-up incubator or accelerator models."

Pioneering Scientific Ventures for Life

Comprising innovators, entrepreneurs and operating executives, the Flagship team is deeply involved in making scientific breakthroughs, founding new ventures and developing companies. The firm uniquely combines a deliberate, hypothesis-driven process to generate breakthrough innovation, with a professional venture creation and venture development organization, and substantial human and financial capital resources. Bolstered by its expanding operational infrastructure, Flagship has developed a strong track record of originating first-in-kind scientific ventures that consistently yield significant financial and societal returns.

Using innovation as its primary currency, Flagship Pioneering has created and developed more than 75 scientific ventures, resulting in $19 billion in aggregate value, 500+ issued patents, 50+ clinical trials and 16 IPOs since its launch in 2000. Flagship team members fill the roles of scientific co-founders, early-stage entrepreneurial leaders and financiers of every venture the firm creates. The current output of Flagship-founded ventures stands at 6-8 per year.

Flagship Pioneering's new corporate identity includes a new logo, the tagline "Pioneering scientific ventures for life", and website Additionally, the company recently opened its new headquarters located at 55 Cambridge Parkway in Cambridge, MA.

Flagship Closes Special Opportunities Fund

Flagship Pioneering also announced today that it will deploy into select portfolio companies $285 million in capital from an innovative new fund, Flagship Ventures Opportunities Fund I, L.P.

"Flagship's operational scale and resources for founding and launching the next generation of breakthrough ventures have recently expanded. Through the innovative, opportunities-fund structure, we will now substantially increase investment into the growth-phase of select ventures and fuel an accelerated path to value creation while increasing Flagship's return on pioneering innovation," said Afeyan.

The Flagship Ventures Opportunities Fund joins five other funds under Flagship's management. Together the family of funds that exceeds $1.75 billion in capital has consistently outperformed comparable funds.

2016: A Year of Unprecedented Innovation

With the closure of the Flagship Ventures Opportunity Fund, Flagship and its portfolio companies are set to end the year with unprecedented impact. 2016 highlights include:

  • Moderna Therapeutics, the leader in a new generation of medicines based on messenger RNA, announced its plans to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Massachusetts to support the company's ongoing and planned clinical trials. Moderna also raised private and strategic capital in excess of $500 million during 2016 and has set records for capital raised and valuation achieved as a private biotech company. At the same time, Moderna was recently recognized as a Top Employer by Science Magazine as well as The Boston Globe;
  • Three of Flagship's trailblazing ventures successfully completed IPOs – Editas Medicine, Selecta Biosciences, and Syros Pharmaceuticals;
  • Novomer, a Flagship portfolio company that converts renewable feedstock into cost-competitive chemicals and polymers, sold its Converge product line and technology to Saudi Aramco at a value of $100 million;
  • Indigo Agriculture raised $100 million in a Series C financing, the largest private round in the agriculture technology sector history, and launched its first commercial product for water-efficient cotton;
  • Denali Therapeutics raised $130 million in Series B financing to advance its work in defeating neurodegenerative diseases;
  • Michael Rosenblatt, M.D. joined Flagship from Merck as the company's first-ever chief medical officer, responsible for leading global clinical development and medical affairs for the organization; and
  • Flagship Pioneering's six funds totalling $1.75 billion under management outperformed industry averages; Fund IV L.P. recorded the best performance of the year out of 46 venture funds tracked by Cambridge Associates from 2010 across all sectors.

Entering 2017, Flagship expects to see accelerating growth within its current portfolio companies and a robust output of first-in-kind ventures under development within its in-house innovation foundry. Several portfolio companies are poised for their initial public offerings while others are expected to forge strategic corporate partnerships with global market leaders.

About Flagship Pioneering

Flagship Pioneering conceives, creates, resources and develops first-in-category life sciences companies. Its institutional innovation foundry, Flagship VentureLabs®, is where Flagship's team of scientific entrepreneurs systematically evolve enterprising ideas into new fields, or previously undiscovered areas of science into real-world inventions and ventures. Since its launch in 2000, the firm has applied its hypothesis-driven innovation process to originate and foster nearly 75 scientific ventures, resulting in $19 billion in aggregate value, 500+ issued patents and more than 50 clinical trials for novel therapeutic agents. Flagship's portfolio includes pioneering ventures that are transforming human health and sustainability, including: Agios Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AGIO), Seres Therapeutics (NASDAQ: MCRB), Editas Medicine (NASDAQ: EDIT) and Syros Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SYRS), as well as private companies including Moderna Therapeutics, Indigo Agriculture and Axcella Health. Flagship has ongoing corporate innovation alliances with several market leaders, including: AstraZeneca, Bayer Crop Science and Nestlé Health Science. To learn more about Flagship Pioneering, please visit our new website