The investment firmhas incubated many life sciences companies since it was founded in 2000. While a general partner with , David Berry has started over 30 companies. There are five of which trade publicly right now: Seres Therapeutics, Sensen Bio, Evelo Biosciences, T2 Biosystems, and Axcella Health.
Berry is often a company’s first CEO, thenwithin 18 months. But he has no plans to leave his post as CEO of , a three-year-old, Boston-based, 110-person drug discovery company that Berry and Flagship think could become one of the firm’s most essential companies yet. That’s notable, considering that Flagship incubated 11-year-old Moderna, which currently boasts a $50 billion market cap thanks largely to its .
Given Berry’s and Flagship’s, perhaps it’s no surprise that Valo has attracted believers. Notably, a fresh $110 million in extended Series B financing from Koch Disruptive Industries, bringing the round total to $300 million. The young company’s overall amount has raised to more than .
Still, given that there ds of drug discovery companies in the area on the latest advancements in AI,, and computation, it’s easy to wonder what’s so special about this one. We got Berry’s take during a chat with him yesterday, below, edited for length and clarity.
TC: Valo is trying to accelerate the creation of drugs, and it has a computational platform called Opal to do it faster and more effectively than many rivals. Is there a way to make it more apparent to outsiders why this platform is so unique?
DB: First, from day one, we operated differently [than past Flagship Pioneering companies]. Typically, when you look at Flagship companies, Flagship has an [exclusive] initial commitment of plus or minus $50 million. But because of the scale of the opportunity that we saw ahead of us with Valo, we started by bringing in externalof a Series A that was around $100 million.
[Also unique is the] breadth of whatto R&D instead of a targeted course to thinking about it. There’s been a historical challenge in in that companies are primarily viewed based on what tlead therapeutic asset lookssuppose you can change the scope, the scale, the possibility, the speed, the probability of success, [and] the cost of developing drugs. In that case, you’re not going to look like a typical therapeutics company.