Flagship Ventures has recruited three of big name corporate sponsors to use their expertise to its next class of seedlings. The move will expand Flagship Ventures’ focus beyond its traditional drug development.
Flagship has separate partnership with AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN), Nestle and Bayer. The partnership is expected to upgrade Flagships faculty at Venture Labs.
The agreements are no strings attached; The three companies are helping Flagships’ projects without the promise of an equity stake or a deal. The only thing the three companies get in exchange for their expertise is the knowledge of the work going on at Venture Labs.
Though, if Bayer, AstraZeneca or Nestle intend to partner with or buy one of the start-ups in future then that could happen. The advantage the three companies will have over others is that of awareness not legal.
Each corporate contract will cover a distinct pursuit. AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) will help with the traditional therapeutics companies, it will co-sign Flagships’ fifteen years of investment experience with a look out for traditional drug R&D.
Bayer will be focused on innovation in crop sciences, it will eye companies that have a sustainable and positive impact on agricultural production and food issues. Nestle is interested in nutrition and healthcare.
The plan of the entire collaboration is to combine the expertise gained by companies over long periods to the nimble nature of the start up world. The aim is to create a safe space where innovators can pass around ideas and bring out the best in each party.
Each of the three companies paid their part in the $537 million fund of Flagship that was unveiled in March. The money is expected to be enough for five start-ups. The fund is the largest ever for Flagship and twice as large as what it initially sought. This can be seen as a proof of the protracted nature of biotech boom.