Leading life sciences bioplatform company Flagship Pioneering has announced London as its first base outside the US, paving the way for new scientific startups, discoveries and investments in the UK.

Flagship takes a unique approach to investment – with its own scientists exploring ideas invented in its labs to improve human health and the most promising projects being grown into companies. 

Since launching in 2000, Flagship has founded more than 100 scientific ventures, worth more than $90 billion combined, among the most notable being Moderna, who developed a ground-breaking mRNA vaccine for Covid-19. 

To date the company has invested over $3.4bn in the founding and growth of pioneering life science companies, unlocking a further $26bn of investment from other sources. 

The government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Flagship which sets out the ways the two can work closely together to maximise the UK’s potential to turn bright new ideas into thriving life science businesses. This includes working together on UK-based clinical trials and clinical delivery; looking into potential locations in the UK to host manufacturing sites for Flagship’s life sciences companies; engaging with UK’s world leading genomics organisations, such as Genomics England, NIHR Bioresource and UKBiobank; and Flagship feeding into UK’s horizon scanning processes that aim to identify opportunities for innovation.

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Earlier this month Flagship launched Quotient Therapeutics, its first ever company co-anchored in both the US and UK. The firm is pioneering somatic genomics, the study of genetic variation at the cellular level, to discover therapeutics informed by new links between genes and disease. 

“We are hugely excited at the opportunity to combine the UK’s world-leading science with Flagship’s unparalleled expertise in conceiving, creating and growing new scientific ventures into globally successful companies,” said Tom Kibasi, senior vice president and head of Flagship’s UK office.

“We’re looking forward to connecting more than 40 Flagship-founded companies into the UK’s thriving life sciences ecosystem and fostering new partnerships and collaborations that get breakthrough treatments to patients sooner.”

One in three of all BioTech startups in Europe over the last decade have been founded in the UK.

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