Transforming Ideas into Disruptive Companies: Information Session with Flagship Pioneering


Yazmin Rovira Gonzalez, Ph.D. Candidate

Scientific knowledge in the life sciences is ever expanding. Intense basic research and unceasing discovery of the fundamental mechanisms regulating disease gives scientists and innovators an opportunity to advocate for ingenious hypotheses and potentially test them in the lab. How can ideas be developed and tested? How can one create and explore hundreds of ideas that have the potential to be transformed into a biotechnology company? These are some of the questions tackled by the venture creation team at Flagship Pioneering, a company dedicated to the assessment and launching of unexplored and disruptive innovations and scientific ventures.

On Wednesday, December 5th, Jordi Mata-Fink, Ph.D., principal of the venture creation team at Flagship Pioneering, talked to postdocs and PhD students at Hopkins about Flagship Pioneering’s process for creating companies. Through a four-phased systematic progression, Flagship has been able to foster and develop over 100 companies, including Moderna Therapeutics, Seres Therapeutics, Indigo Agriculture, Rubius Therapeutics, and many more. Although not an incubator or accelerator, Flagship is the first institutional platform to outline entrepreneurial innovation and turn new discoveries into first-hand translational outcomes, such as new drug modalities and new product-platform technologies. This life science innovation enterprise transforms ideas into first-in-category, unprecedented companies using the following steps:

After learning more about the entrepreneurial team, Jordi proceeded to discuss the Flagship Fellows Program, which offers an alternative path from academia that allows applicants to remain engaged in creative science. Unlike traditional internships or academic fellowships, Flagship’s full-time fellowship program (12 weeks) has a varied curriculum. Indeed, the candidate’s graduate training is combined with the usage of entrepreneurial talents to explore ideas and look at scientific literature through the lens of an inventive researcher with the goal of generating new perspectives for companies with world-changing potential. The program takes place at the Flagship Pioneering offices in Cambridge, MA and, although the specific projects vary, the fellows receive the following benefits:

  • A stipend.
  • Learn Flagship’s process for generating and refining ideas into a new venture.
  • Work directly with cross-functional teams, including scientists, academics, entrepreneurs, and business executives.
  • Explore unprecedented science and technology.
  • Build relationships and expand your professional network.

If you’re a creative graduate or post-graduate student (MBA, MS, PhD, MD, etc.) with a deep scientific or business background, this fellowship might be an opportunity to harness your scientific skills and entrepreneurialism. Flagship is currently looking for fellows with no more than 1-2 years away from full-time employment for their upcoming summer term (June 3, 2019 – August 23, 2019). To find out more details about this paid, full-time program and how to apply, visit Flagship’s career website.

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