RARE Daily

Flagship Unveils ProFound with $75 Million to Generate New Medicines from an Expanded Universe of Human Proteins

May 26, 2022

Flagship Pioneering has unveiled ProFound Therapeutics, a company that has identified a universe of previously undiscovered human proteins, enabling a multitude of new therapeutic targets and medicines for indications such as rare diseases, cancer, and immunological conditions.

Photo: Noubar Afeyan, founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering and co-founder and chairman of ProFound Therapeutics

Founded at Flagship Labs in 2020, the company’s ProFoundry platform has uncovered tens of thousands of novel proteins, remapped the landscape of the human genome, and expanded the number of potential therapeutic targets.

Flagship has initially committed $75 million to advance the ProFoundry platform and generate an initial pipeline of novel therapeutics.

“Two decades ago, the Human Genome Project reached the consensus that there were just 20,000 protein-coding genes, based on a well-defined boundary of what we call a protein,” said Noubar Afeyan, founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering and co-founder and chairman of ProFound Therapeutics. “We asked ourselves, ‘What if we are overly constrained by these rules, and the proteome is actually much larger than previously understood?’”

He said by focusing on proteins in the process of translation, together with the innovative application of technology and new biological insights, they have found tens of thousands of undiscovered human proteins that could provide new intervention points across diseases.

“This discovery redefines what we know about human biology and marks the beginning of a new era in biomedicine, with unlimited potential for patient impact,” he said.

ProFound Therapeutics has developed tools to reveal the translatome, a full compendium of sequences translated into proteins. Building on the foundational insights from the translatome, the company has constructed the ProFoundry Atlas, an ever-expanding database cataloging tens of thousands of novel proteins and their functionality, connectivity, and roles in health and disease. This Atlas is at the core of the ProFoundry Platform, which uses a proprietary combination of state-of-the-art protein detection technologies, targeted high-throughput functional validation, and advanced computational tools to unearth a rich source of protein factors and targets, illuminating biology to generate new medicines.

“ProFound is systematically decoding this expanded proteome to understand how these proteins govern biology and enable the development of novel therapeutics across the spectrum of human diseases,” said Avak Kahvejian, Flagship Pioneering general partner and co-founder and CEO of ProFound Therapeutics. “Through the ProFoundry Platform, we have already uncovered many new mechanisms of disease that present untapped therapeutic avenues, including new genetic disease targets, circulating factors, and immune system modulators, among others. This new biology opens a vast frontier, which we believe could unleash multiples of the biotechnology industry.”

In addition to Afeyan and Kahvejian, ProFound’s founding team includes Flagship Origination Partners Kala Subramanian, who serves as president, and Yann Echelard, as well as Flagship Principal Erica Weinstein, and Flagship Pioneering Senior Associate Vini Mani.

Author: Rare Daily Staff

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