Over nearly two decades, Flagship Pioneering has founded more than 100 science-based businesses, worth more than $30 billion in aggregate value. Collectively, our companies have filed more than 12,750 patents, created a pipeline of more than 50 clinical programs, and planted many thousands of acres with novel crops.
Value is at the heart of our process for company creation.
Explorations begin with a value hypothesis. That simple discipline ensures that our subsequent scientific work has a clear set of goals and direction, and that we’ll make sure our partners’ capital is only deployed in support of a clear value objective. Our focus on only exploring new areas far outside current practice also allows us to amass significant intellectual property, which protects value. And, finally, by seeking to create companies only where we can tackle huge unmet needs in human health or sustainability, we create clear value propositions for our companies.
The ProtoCo stage of our process is designed to protect value. Unlike traditional models of startup innovation, we put guardrails around our ProtoCos. A ProtoCo will generally exist for a year and cost around $1 million. If we can’t validate the science during that time and with that sum, we park the idea until later. Prototyping is a core part of our de-risking and risk-management strategy.
As companies develop from NewCo to GrowthCo, our emphasis remains focused on maximizing value and creating downside protection. Each company is based on a platform with the potential to produce multiple products across different therapeutic areas or crops, the probability of creating no successful drugs or crops at all is low—and the opportunity to create tremendous value based on multiple drugs or crops emerging from the platform is substantial.
Finally, as the principal owner of the businesses we create, we align with our companies’ CEOs and management teams around a shared value growth plan and put all of Flagship’s resources to work in order to maximize the value of the company we’re building together.
Many of the companies that Flagship Pioneering founded have invented entirely new modalities or therapeutic approaches; bred new plants or introduced novel agricultural methods; or brewed new fuels or energy sources. They include Rubius Therapeutics, which makes red blood cell medicines; Moderna Therapeutics, which harnesses mRNA to instruct the body to manufacture its own therapies; and Indigo Agriculture, whose seeds improve farms’ sustainability, growers’ profits, consumer health through microbiology, and digital technologies.