Thermo Fisher teams up with Flagship Pioneering to forge new life science tool startups

Thermo Fisher Scientific has had a longstanding agreement with Flagship Pioneering to help supply the incubator’s roster of young biotechs with life sciences hardware and research services. Now, Thermo Fisher is getting in on the startup game itself. 

The two have expanded their partnership with plans to work together on forming, developing and commercially scaling what they described as “new platform companies focusing on novel tools and capabilities” aimed at supporting first-in-class therapies, according to their announcement.

“Pioneering new modalities for human health and environmental health require complementary capabilities and ecosystem elements to realize the full potential,” said Flagship Senior Partner Justine Levin-Allerhand. 

“Our partnership will couple Flagship’s innovative company formation process with Thermo Fisher’s deep understanding of the life sciences industry, as we collaborate to develop transformative capabilities for the ecosystem,” Levin-Allerhand said. 

The deal follows the recent news from Flagship touting the official launch of its artificial intelligence initiative.

While work first began on Pioneering Intelligence in 2021, Flagship formalized the project earlier this month on a track not wholly unrelated to the expanded partnership with Thermo Fisher: Its goal is to seed AI and machine learning developers that will also ultimately help augment the drug development R&D being done across the firm’s other biotech outfits.

This month also saw Flagship launch its first biotech in the U.K., backing Quotient Therapeutics and its super-sensitive genome sequencing tech with a $50 million commitment.

Quotient—borne out of research from the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the University of Texas Southwestern—hopes to identify the underlying causes of disease by comparing a single patient’s genomes on a cell-by-cell basis, to catch any discrepancies that can be attributed to different conditions.

“It turns out that each of us doesn't have just one genome, but rather, we have more like 30 trillion, because every cell in our body has a distinct sequence of DNA,” the London-based company’s co-founder and president, Jake Rubens, told Fierce Biotech in an interview.