As the pandemic was raging in April 2020, Flagship Pioneering raised $1.1 billion for its seventh fund focused on spawning the next wave of biotech startups.
Now, as the world begins to emerge from the pandemic — in part because of the COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna, one of Flagship’s companies — the Cambridge venture capital giant says it has more than tripled that amount.
After raising additional funds, Flagship said Monday that it has has $3.4 billion to spend on a generation of biotech companies focused on therapeutics, agriculture, and nutrition.
And while drug makers typically concentrate on developing treatments for diseases, Flagship is building an internal division that will work on developing medicines for healthy people. These therapies would be intended to protect, maintain, or improve health so a person could better ward off infectious disease threats, as well as “existing pandemic diseases such as obesity, cancer, and neurodegeneration.”
“The pandemic has laid bare the critical nature of health, not only to individuals, but to economies and societies,” said Ara Darzi, who’s heading the initiative, in a press release.
The expanded funding comes as Flagship continues to support its existing companies and launch new ones. The firm poured $370 million into its startups over the last four quarters, and other investors kicked in $4.4 billion.
Flagship has spun out several biotechs over the last year, including Laronde, Generate, Invaio Sciences, and Valo Health, which announced last week that it was pursuing a SPAC merger. And Flagship startups, including Inari Agriculture, Indigo Ag, Tessera Therapeutics, and others, have raised $1.8 billion from private investors in the last year.
Since its founding in 2000, Flagship has created 41 companies.