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Flagship Pioneering Launches Foghorn Therapeutics With Initial Capital Commitment of $50 Million

March 14, 2018

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Company’s Proprietary Gene Traffic Control™ Product Platform Provides a New Way to Think About Treating Disease

Cambridge, Mass.— March 14, 2018—Flagship Pioneering, a unique life science innovation enterprise, today unveiled Foghorn Therapeutics. Foghorn uses its proprietary Gene Traffic Control™ product platform to discover and develop drugs based on novel insights into the chromatin regulatory system. The chromatin regulatory system directs gene expression in cells. Cigall Kadoch, Ph.D., of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and the Broad Institute; Douglas Cole, M.D., of Flagship Pioneering; and Gerald Crabtree, M.D., of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Stanford University founded Foghorn to develop treatments for cancer and other serious diseases. Adrian Gottschalk, formerly senior vice president and neurodegeneration therapeutic area head at Biogen, is the company’s CEO. Flagship Pioneering developed and launched Foghorn through its innovation foundry, Flagship VentureLabs®. Flagship Pioneering has made an initial capital commitment of $50 million.

“Genes determine critical aspects of health and disease,” said Douglas Cole, managing partner at Flagship Pioneering and chairman of Foghorn’s board of directors. “Cells rely on the chromatin regulatory system to direct which genes are expressed and when, where, and in what order they are expressed. The chromatin regulatory system represents a pivotal, unexploited area on which to build effective new therapeutic strategies. Foghorn Therapeutics has been founded and is uniquely positioned to do this.”

Since establishing operations in 2016, Foghorn Therapeutics has developed a product platform that has generated new insights into disease, created six programs, and built a discovery engine that is yielding many additional targets. The company is in the process of developing drug candidates across a range of cancers and is exploring applications of Gene Traffic Control in neurology and immunology.

Introducing Gene Traffic Control™

Genes control critical aspects of health and disease, but what controls our genes?

Just as airports need an air traffic control system to direct which planes move and when, where, and in what order, our bodies need a system to control which genes our cells express, and when, where, in what order, and what quantity. This so-called chromatin regulatory system is the body’s Gene Traffic Control system.

Breakdown in the Gene Traffic Control system is a major, unexplored cause of cancer and other serious diseases. Foghorn’s proprietary Gene Traffic Control product platform makes it possible, for the first time, to understand how chromatin regulation malfunctions and to make drugs to correct it when it does.

“At Foghorn, we envision a world where patients can regain control of their genes to battle cancer and other serious diseases,” said Adrian Gottschalk, CEO of Foghorn Therapeutics. “The applications of our Gene Traffic Control platform are incredibly broad across cancer, neurology, and immunology. This is just the beginning of an entirely new approach to controlling gene expression and to bringing new medicines to patients with intractable diseases.”

To learn more about Foghorn Therapeutics, visit the company’s website at

About Foghorn Therapeutics

A Flagship Pioneering company, Foghorn was founded in 2016 by Cigall Kadoch, Ph.D., Gerald Crabtree, M.D., and Douglas Cole, M.D., of Flagship Pioneering. With Gene Traffic Control™, Foghorn is pioneering a new major class of drug targets to develop unprecedented therapies for cancer and other serious diseases.

Foghorn has a broad platform based on the fundamental biology of Gene Traffic Control. With this powerful platform, Foghorn has already developed new insights, rapidly advanced six programs, and created a discovery engine that will simultaneously yield many additional targets. With insights from Foghorn’s scientific founders, seasoned board and leadership team, and discovery engine, this is only the beginning of an entirely new approach to controlling gene expression. Learn more about Foghorn at

About Flagship Pioneering

Flagship Pioneering conceives, creates, resources, and develops first-in-category life sciences companies. Its institutional innovation foundry, Flagship VentureLabs®, is where Flagship’s team of scientific entrepreneurs systematically evolves enterprising ideas into new fields or previously undiscovered areas of science into real-world inventions and ventures. Since its launch in 2000, the firm has applied its hypothesis-driven innovation process to originate and foster more than 100 scientific ventures, resulting in over $20 billion in aggregate value, thousands of patents, and more than 60 clinical programs for novel therapeutic agents.

Beyond contributing foundational innovations and company entrepreneurial leadership, Flagship has also capitalized its growing ecosystem of first-in-class companies with over $1.2 billion coming from its $2.3 billion of capital commitments. An additional $7 billion has been co-invested into Flagship’s ecosystem to support growth. The firm’s current ecosystem includes pioneering ventures that are transforming human health and sustainability, including Denali Therapeutics (NASDAQ: DNLI), Editas Medicine (NASDAQ: EDIT), Seres Therapeutics (NASDAQ: MCRB), and Syros Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SYRS), as well as private companies, including Evelo Biosciences, Kaleido Biosciences, Indigo Agriculture, CiBO Technologies, Rubius Therapeutics, Torque Therapeutics, and Moderna Therapeutics. Flagship has ongoing corporate innovation alliances with several market leaders, including AstraZeneca, the Crop Science Division of Bayer, and Nestlé Health Science. To learn more about Flagship Pioneering, please visit our website:


Genevieve Gadenne, Flagship Pioneering

(617) 868-1888


Amir Khan, Spectrum Science Communications

(212) 899-9730