Investment Criteria

Flagship's ventures flourish due to our compelling value-building strategy.

We begin with two core beliefs: that breakthrough innovation leads to strong financial performance and that first-in-category and best-in-class companies are the key to powerful portfolio returns. We then use our knowledge and networks—as well as our intense involvement—to transform promising early-stage opportunities into solid value creations. We bring four critical differentiators to bear on this pursuit:

  • Extraordinary access to breakthrough innovations: To identify investment prospects within a crowded and increasingly competitive world of startups, we access the insights of our extensive network of academics, entrepreneurs and technologists; we also proactively source deals in targeted areas.  
  • An outstanding, entrepreneurial leadership team: We have deep experience in differentiating market-transforming scientific breakthroughs from “science projects” with little market potential. We also have expertise in selecting teams, markets and business models suited for each type of innovation. 
  • A philosophy of focused guidance: We truly engage in the development of each venture, deploying our network where needed and taking an active board role—but we always let the CEO lead. The result is efficient early commercialization of breakthrough innovations.
  • A longstanding track record of successful exits by the firm’s principals.
      

Investment Themes

Flagship invests in a number of areas that impact human health and sustainability—disruptable markets with untapped potential—in which we make a powerful difference. The nine areas below—and our investment history in each—clarify the issues and ideas that drive us toward other opportunities.

Biological Discoveries Leading to New Therapies
Current Investments:

  • Agios Pharmaceuticals, founded to develop novel drugs targeting cancer metabolism
  • Visterra, founded to develop products that will transform the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases

Advanced Analysis for Improved Medicine
Current Investments:

  • BG Medicine, a Flagship VentureLabs company founded to develop novel, biomarker-based diagnostics   
  • Selventa, a Flagship VenturesLabs company founded to analyzes molecular patient data, accelerate the development process and clarify decisions on therapeutics and diagnostics
  • Seahorse Bioscience, founded to develop analytical instruments and consumable labware products for biological research and drug discovery
  • Quanterix, founded to develop sensitive, precise and robust platforms for single molecule analysis of proteins
  • Seventh Sense, a Flagship VentureLabs company founded to optimize the interface of diagnostic medicine and the healthcare consumer by simplifying blood sampling and testing 

Breakthrough Chemistries and Small Molecule Drugs
Current Investments:

  • Ensemble Therapeutics, a Flagship VenturesLabs company founded to employ a novel synthesis method to produce unprecedented macrocyle diversity resulting in novel drugs
  • Concert Pharmaceuticals, founded to develop new medicines utilizing deuterium
  • Receptos, founded for drug discovery and development exploiting novel insight into the biology of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR) derived from cutting edge structural biology 

Biotherapeutics
Current Investments:

  • Acceleron, founded to develop drugs  that modulate the growth of bone, muscle, fat and the vasculature to treat cancer, neuromuscular and metabolic disease
  • Eleven Biotherapeutics, a Flagship VentureLabs company founded to create the next generation of protein-based medicines  based on validated biological mechanisms
  • Celexion, a Flagship VentureLabs company founded to develop powerful synthetic biology tools for engineering biotherapeutics

Transformative Medical Devices
Current Investments:

  • Avedro, founded to develop incisionless vision-correction procedures
  • TransMedics, founded to develop systems to prolong the health of transplantation organs
  • TARIS Biomedical, founded to develop minimally invasive drug-device convergence products for localized drug delivery 

Creating a Renewable Fuels and Chemicals Future
Current Investments:

  • Mascoma, founded to apply advanced technology to conversion of cellulosic biomass to ethanol and other bio-fuels
  • Novomer, founded to develop a family of green, low cost, high-performance plastics, polymers and chemicals
  • Joule Unlimited, a Flagship VentureLabs company founded to develop fuels from CO2 and sunlight to meet the needs for clean, renewable energy

Transforming the Global Resource Equation
Current Investments:

  • Oasys, founded to develop proprietary energy and resource recovery products to address the growing, global water crisis.
  • Pronutria, a Flagship VentureLabs company founded to transform global nutrition.

Nanotechnology for Medicine
Current Investments:

  • BIND Therapeutics, founded to develop therapeutic targeted nanoparticles
  • Selecta Biosciences, founded to develop synthetic nanoparticle vaccines
  • T2 Biosystems, a Flagship VentureLabs company founded to develop transformative point of care diagnostic products