This is the fifth and largest fund so far for Flagship Ventures, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, since its founding in 2000.It will invest the money through its VentureLabs division which focuses on therapeutics, health technology and sustainability start-ups with “disruptive ideas”.
Flagship CEO Nouvar Ageyan said the firm plans to launch up to five new companies per year from its next investment round, as well as increasing its staff.
"We closed this fund with nearly twice the amount of capital we had initially sought, and in record time," added the Chief Executive.
This latest investment brings Flagship’s total funds to $1.4bn. Its last funding round raised $269m in 2010.
Venture Labs’ current therapeutics portfolio comprises private companies Celexion, Ensemble Therapeutics, Moderna, Permeon Biologics, Pronutria Biosciences, Seres Health, Syros Pharmaceuticals, and the publicly traded Eleven Biotherapeutics.
Moderna, which received a cash injection from Flagship in 2010, has strategic agreements with AstraZeneca and Alexion Pharmaceuticals for its RNA platform. The start-up has 320 patent applications for nucleotide chemicals and drug candidates.
Seres Health, which Flagship funded in 2012, is developing microbiome “ecobiotic” therapeutics to target infectious, metabolic and inflammatory diseases.
The company has a strong record of public offerings and exits. In the last two years, the venture capital fund has seen eight IPOs from Concert Pharmaceuticals, Biosystems, Eleven, Agios, Acceleron, Bind, Receptos, and Tetraphase.
Flagship has invested in 50 companies in total. As part of launching its fifth fund, the firm announced Douglas Cole has been promoted to managing partner and David Berry to general partner. Between them, they led the organisation’s investments in Agios, CombinatoRx, Concert Pharmaceuticals, Editas Medicine, Receptos, Quanterix, Syros, Tetraphase, Joule Unlimited, Eleven, Seres, and Pronutria.