Our Pioneering Process

At Flagship Pioneering, we are continuously envisioning unforeseen innovations with disruptive potential. Our proven, systematic process is uniquely designed to conceive, create, resource and grow pioneering, first-in-category ventures that transform human health and sustainability.

Whether we are “conceiving and creating” or “developing and growing companies,” our institutional approach has enabled us to power more than 100 companies at varying stages of their lifecycle, leading to outsized financial and societal gain.

Flagship Labs: Executing our Process for Pioneering

Flagship Labs, where our team conceives, challenges, refines and advances internally conceived venture hypotheses that have the potential to change the world, yields over 75 percent of Flagship’s portfolio. Flagship’s team of entrepreneurial scientists pioneer breakthrough innovations by first asking “what if?” and “why not?”, and then forming and testing hypotheses through laboratory experiments. Integral to our pioneering process, we explicitly distance ourselves from the boundaries of current knowledge and precedented products so that we can search for unforeseen value potential.

Flagship Labs serves as Flagship’s innovation foundry where we apply a unique, highly iterative process to “evolve” our hypotheses into viable starting points for new ventures. Along the way, we conduct proof of concept experiments in more than 60,000 square feet of Flagship Labs space in Cambridge, MA. Here, our teams apply scientific rigor to systematically pressure-test, shape, validate and prove our theories to the point where they either thrive or die.

Our pioneering process has yielded numerous breakthrough innovations which, guided by Flagship’s entrepreneurial leadership, as well as financial and operational resources, have led to over 40 pioneering ventures. These innovations are protected through more than 200 granted US patents issued for inventions made by Flagship Labs scientists.

Flagship’s unique process for pioneering has four distinct phases leading to the spinout of a first-in-class venture:


Developing and Growing Pioneering Ventures

The Flagship team is deeply involved in scientific innovation, venture creation and company development. Financial capital is, for us, a strategic resource deployed alongside our expertise.

In addition to ventures arising from inventions and discoveries made within Flagship Labs, Flagship works selectively with externally sourced ventures. We pursue only those ventures that have unprecedented, disruptive potential. The common goal is to generate extraordinary value by achieving significant impact in an area of major need. The critical strategic guidance and active board oversight we provide helps those ventures to accelerate, scale and diversify into industry-leading companies.

No matter where our disruptive innovations originate, we aim to pioneer first-in-class ventures that make significant impact in the areas of health and sustainability.


Capital for Value Creation

Flagship Pioneering has the human and financial capital to create, conceive, resource and grow first-in-category ventures throughout every stage of the innovation lifecycle. More than 75 percent of Flagship Pioneering’s portfolio begin as ventures that are conceived and launched by our experienced team, either based on our in-house innovations or scientific discoveries brought to us by academic partners. Additionally, Flagship Pioneering invests financial and intellectual capital into external innovations that we believe will deliver significant value.

Since 2000, Flagship Pioneering has raised $2.5 billion across six investment funds and has deployed about $1.4 billion to power the next generation of breakthrough innovations that can transform the world.

Our pioneering process of disruptive innovation, systematic venture creation, internal invention, and intellectual property generation is distinct from conventional venture funding or incubation models. We engage as lead sponsors in each venture with which we work, contributing through our culture of entrepreneurial scientific collaboration, operational infrastructure, and institutional governance. As our companies grow, we work closely with the management teams to attract later stage institutional investors and corporate partners.