The company's MIMiC™ platform drives unprecedented insights into molecular interactions to design new biomolecules precisely tuned for therapeutic benefit
With $50 million in committed capital from Flagship, Metaphore has built a first-in-class bioplatform during the past two years
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Flagship Pioneering, the bioplatform innovation company, today announced the launch of Metaphore Biotechnologies, a company harnessing the power of biomimicry and machine learning to unlock the transformative therapeutic potential of functional molecular mimics. Two years into development, Flagship has made an initial commitment of $50 million to advance Metaphore's MIMiC™ platform and build its pipeline for patients with autoimmune, metabolic, or oncology indications.
"We asked the question, 'What if we could engineer therapeutics to trigger the ideal biological response by taking inspiration from mimicry in nature?'" said Noubar Afeyan, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering and Co-Founder and Chairman of Metaphore. "With Metaphore's MIMiC platform, we pick up where natural evolution left off, designing improved molecular components that make previously intractable targets accessible. We believe this approach has the potential to unlock breakthroughs that outperform today's drugs and reach patients with few or no therapeutic options."
Metaphore's MIMiC platform imitates and then evolves the function of pharmacophores, the set of essential components that govern interactions between natural bioactive molecules. The platform systematically isolates a pharmacophore, creating a precise mold of its features that can then be cast into a functional imitation of the original. Massively parallel assays are integrated with machine learning-guided engineering to evolve novel mimetic compounds where function, specificity, and selectivity can be explicitly tuned and optimized. These molecular mimics can be designed to modulate previously intractable targets in a programmable way, and be incorporated into any therapeutic modality.
"Mimicry is one of nature's oldest tricks, and with Metaphore we adapted it to drug discovery," said Lovisa Afzelius, Ph.D., MBA, Origination Partner at Flagship Pioneering and Co-Founder and CEO of Metaphore. "In nature, organisms gain adaptive advantages by imitating others and, through evolution, these biomimics have been carefully selected and optimized. Similarly, we use our platform to engineer pharmacophores to trigger a desired biological response. The molecular mimics we create can imitate a preexisting interaction or improve upon nature for optimized and programmable function."
In addition to Noubar Afeyan and Lovisa Afzelius, Metaphore's founding team includes Daniel Acker, Ph.D., Flagship Pioneering Principal, who also serves as Chief Innovation Officer for Metaphore.
Metaphore's leadership team includes Amanda Kay, Ph.D., Flagship Pioneering Operating Partner and President of Metaphore, former CBO Deep Genomics, and COO Pfizer Inflammation & Immunology; Chaz Hinzman, Ph.D., Flagship Pioneering Associate and Head of Business Operations for Metaphore; and Marcin Paduch, Ph.D., Head of Platform at Metaphore.
The company's advisory team includes Arup Chakraborty, Ph.D., Institute Professor, MIT, Scientific Advisor and Academic Partner, Flagship Pioneering and Founding Steering Committee Member, Ragon Institute; Daniel Lingwood, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Core Member, Ragon Institute; Ulrich von Andrian, M.D., Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. Professor of Immunopathology, Microbiology and Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School and Senior Investigator, von Adrian Lab, Boston Children's Hospital; and Timothy Whitehead, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder.
About Metaphore Biotechnologies
Metaphore Biotechnologies is harnessing the power of biomimicry and machine learning to unlock the transformative therapeutic potential of functional molecular mimics. The company's MIMiC™ platform is a computationally driven bioplatform designing new therapeutics where function, specificity, and selectivity can be optimized. Metaphore is focused on making previously intractable drug targets accessible and unlocking breakthroughs that outperform today's drugs for maximum patient impact. The company was founded in 2021 in Flagship Labs, a unit of Flagship Pioneering.
About Flagship Pioneering
Flagship Pioneering conceives, creates, resources, and develops first-in-category bioplatform companies to transform human health and sustainability. Since its launch in 2000, the firm has, through its Flagship Labs unit, applied its unique hypothesis-driven innovation process to originate and foster more than 100 scientific ventures, resulting in more than $100 billion in aggregate value. To date, Flagship has deployed over $3.3 billion in capital toward the founding and growth of its pioneering companies alongside more than $20 billion follow-on investments from other institutions. The current Flagship ecosystem comprises 43 transformative companies, including Denali Therapeutics (NASDAQ: DNLI), Evelo Biosciences (NASDAQ: EVLO), Foghorn Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FHTX), Indigo Ag, Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA), Omega Therapeutics (NASDAQ: OMGA), Sana Biotechnology (NASDAQ: SANA), and Seres Therapeutics (NASDAQ: MCRB).
Josephine Zorbo, Ph.D.
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SOURCE Metaphore Biotechnologies