Flagship Ventures Forms Strategic Innovation Partnerships with AstraZeneca, Nestlé Health Science and Bayer CropScience

Scaling Entrepreneurial Innovations in Life Sciences

Cambridge, Mass., May 5, 2015 -- Flagship Ventures, a leading venture capital and venture creation firm focused on innovations in healthcare and sustainability, announced it has formed strategic innovation partnerships with AstraZeneca, Nestlé Health Science and Bayer CropScience. These collaborations will allow Flagship to scale up its unique innovation foundry, VentureLabs®, as well as expand its early stage venture funding activities while leveraging the partners' strengths as market leaders.

Working with Flagship, each partner will gain access to the firm's unique model of entrepreneurial innovation, venture creation and development. Flagship will benefit from each partner's deep knowledge of market needs and research frontiers, as well as expertise in product development and commercialization.

As part of the innovation partnerships, AstraZeneca, Nestlé Health Science and Bayer CropScience each also invested in Flagship Ventures' Fund V, a $537 million, oversubscribed venture capital fund that closed in March 2015. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"For 15 years, Flagship has uniquely pursued a hybrid model of venture creation and investment to fulfill its mission of realizing entrepreneurial innovation," said Dr. Noubar Afeyan, senior managing partner and chief executive officer of Flagship. "The strategic innovation partnerships we have formed with these leading companies will enable us to accelerate our efforts, translate more scientific discoveries into game-changing companies that disrupt existing markets, and make our own breakthrough innovations to tackle some of the world's most pressing challenges."

"We are partnering with Flagship based on their proven track record of successfully creating and investing in transformative therapeutics platforms," said Dr. Menelas Pangalos, executive vice president of AstraZeneca's Innovative Medicines and Early Development Biotech Unit. "Collaborating with Flagship allows us to leverage our complementary strengths while accessing breakthrough science at its formative stages."

Greg Behar, chief executive of Nestlé Health Science, said, "Our investment in Fund V is another step forward in advancing the therapeutic role of nutrition, an area alive with discovery and innovation. Nutritional therapy is rapidly advancing as breakthroughs are being made in terms of understanding mode of action, clinical and health economic evidence."

"Flagship shares our strategic vision of addressing some of the major problems in modern agriculture by developing innovative solutions," said Liam Condon, chief executive officer of Bayer CropScience. "We are excited to work with Flagship to identify and commercialize companies that will have a positive, sustainable impact on agricultural production and food security in the 21st century."

Under the terms of the partnership agreement, the parties will work together to create the next generation of cutting-edge innovations leading to a portfolio of pioneering ventures. The corporate partners will collaborate with the resulting companies, and may also deploy traditional business development approaches such as direct investments, licensing, joint ventures or acquisitions.