JPM24: Flagship unveils tech-focused initiative backed by Thermo Fisher, Samsung collabs

Hot on the heels of the official launch of its artificial intelligence-focused initiative, Flagship Pioneering is debuting yet another advanced technology-centric project.

The new “enabling technologies” initiative will be dedicated, as the moniker suggests, to supporting the development of new tools and technologies, with a focus on those that can be used in turn to develop new therapeutics.

Flagship pulled back the curtain on the new focus area on Monday, during the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.

The initiative builds on the expanded partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific that Flagship announced in late November. While Thermo Fisher has long provided hardware and research services to the life sciences startups in Flagship’s portfolio, the duo said at the time that they’ll now team up to launch entirely new startups focused on developing “novel tools and capabilities that seek to power the biotech ecosystem and accelerate the development of first-in-class therapies.”

Also powering the enabling technologies project will be a new collaboration with Samsung that Flagship also unveiled on Monday, representing yet another expansion of an existing partnership.

The latest iteration of their team-up will see Samsung C&T, a global subsidiary of the manufacturing giant, provide tech tools to Flagship’s portfolio companies to help speed up the creation of new therapies. That technological support will span AI, translational medicine, “high-quality clinical samples” and Samsung’s existing clinical trials infrastructure, and Samsung will also invest in the Flagship-incubated startups.

Flagship said in Monday’s announcement that partnerships like those with Thermo Fisher and Samsung will be “foundational” to the work of the new tech-focused initiative, which will stretch across its entire roster of life sciences companies.

“Core to the success of this new initiative will be collaboration with our partners, who are leaders in their respective fields and bring tremendous technological expertise and acumen,” said Noubar Afeyan, Ph.D., Flagship founder and CEO. “We envision this new initiative building on Flagship’s proven track record in bioplatform innovation to power new technologies that generate bigger leaps for our ecosystem, our industry, and ultimately, for patients.”

The enabling technologies initiative joins a handful of other internal focus areas at Flagship, including those focused on preemptive health and medicine, novel therapeutics and AI.

The last of these has been dubbed Pioneering Intelligence and made its formal debut last fall—though the project had been in the works since 2021. The initiative aims to integrate AI technologies and know-how into all of Flagship’s portfolio companies to accelerate their work in drug discovery and development and to support new discoveries around human health and sustainability. Additionally, Pioneering Intelligence will also be behind the launch of new startups built specifically on advanced AI tools.