Flagship Bags $618M, Its Largest Raise Ever, For a New Startup Crop

Xconomy Boston — 

More money continues to flow into the creation of new biotechs.

Flagship Pioneering, one of the life science industry’s major early stage venture investors, announced today that it has raised $618 million, the largest influx of money to the coffers of the Cambridge, MA-based firm since its founding in 2000. It says it now has a war chest of more than $2.3 billion. The new round came from a mix of existing and new investors.

Flagship’s raise comes as many of the industry’s company creation specialists and later stage investors have reloaded with new funds—a nod to the success many have had during biotech’s post-recession rebound. Atlas Venture ($350 million), Polaris Partners ($435 million), and Clarus Ventures ($910 million), and Third Rock Ventures ($616 million) are each among the firms that have added new funds since 2016.

Founded and led by Noubar Afeyan (pictured), Flagship has made its mark incubating high-profile biotech startups in bold areas of science, such as messenger RNA drug developer Moderna Therapeutics and microbiome drugmaker Seres Therapeutics (NASDAQ: MCRB). A number of the firm’s investments are now publicly traded companies, among them Acceleron Pharma (NASDAQ: XLRN), Agios Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AGIO), and Concert Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CNCE).

In 2017, Flagship spun out six new companies from its incubator, VentureLabs, and two additional ones came out of stealth, Sigilon Therapeutics and Kaleido Biosciences. It was also a founding investor of Denali Therapeutics (NASDAQ: DNLI), which pulled off the biggest biotech IPO of the year, a $248 million haul, to develop neurodegeneration drugs. Flagship-backed Quanterix (NASDAQ: QTRX) also went public this year, raising about $64 million.

“This new capital will fuel our unique model, which combines in a single institution scientific foresight and creativity, risk mitigation, systematic invention, professional entrepreneuring, executive leadership, professional capital management, and a vast network of expertise,” said Afeyan in a statement.

Here’s more on Flagship and its investment strategy.

Ben Fidler contributed to this article.