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A Cambridge, Mass., biotech company claims to have made a discovery that could rewrite biology textbooks. ProFound Therapeutics said Thursday that it had identified tens of thousands of previously unknown proteins in the human body, many of which may be involved in cancer, immunity, and metabolism.

After two years of working in stealth, ProFound has emerged with $75 million from Flagship Pioneering, the Cambridge investment firm that builds and funds its own biotech companies and is best known for its creation of the mRNA vaccine developer Moderna. ProFound will use the money to catalogue and study the new proteins, begin building a pipeline of drugs based on their findings, and potentially quadruple in size from about 25 to 100 employees by this time next year.


Flagship is unrestrained in its hopes for what its latest startup can achieve. The new proteins “could provide countless new intervention points across diseases,” Noubar Afeyan, founder and chief executive of Flagship, said in a statement. “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.”

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