“The greatest need we have today in the human cancer problem, except for universal care, is a method for detecting cancer before there are any clinical signs or symptoms.”
Sidney Farber, M.D.
Father of modern chemotherapy
pioneering the detection of early cancer
Harbinger Health is pioneering the detection of early cancer and enabling foundationally new approaches to cancer screening, diagnosis and management. Incubated within Flagship Pioneering for three years before launching in 2021, Harbinger combines advances in artificial intelligence with proprietary insights into the biology of the beginnings of cancer to identify cancer before it is visible or symptomatic with the aim of developing a low-cost, multi-cancer blood test.
A harbinger is a “forerunner, that which precedes and gives notice of the coming of another.” We not only are working to identify the harbinger – the biological programs present in the earliest forms of cancer – but seek to be the harbinger, to be the forerunner which will usher in the future of healthcare.
At Harbinger, we intend to lead in shaping this future – creating a proactive paradigm so that people can live cancer-free for longer, adding years to life and life to years. We envision a future where, instead of keeping cancer from spreading, it could be kept from forming, making a cancer diagnosis a routine health problem to be addressed rather than a life-altering event to be feared with profound implications for people, healthcare systems and societies.
Our answer to the problem of late cancer detection and unacceptable patient prognoses starts with our proprietary solutions for the future of cancer pre-emption. Beginning with blood-based tests, we will enable cancer detection before it is visible. By identifying biological programs rooted in cancer's origins, we can enable identification of early stage and pre-disease. Through this new pathway for cancer diagnosis and early therapeutic interventions, Harbinger Health has the potential to fundamentally change cancer care, for everyone.
Hutan Ashrafian, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A.
Hutan Ashrafian is Chief Scientific Officer of Flagship Pioneering’s Preemptive Medicine and Health Security Initiative. In this role, he is pioneering a portfolio of novel therapeutics and approaches to protect, maintain, or improve people’s health before they get sick.
Hutan is a senior clinician-scientist and surgeon with extensive experience developing novel biomedical and technological methods to address a wide range of healthcare issues. His research has focused on developing innovative and technological strategies to resolve the global healthcare burden of obesity, metabolic syndrome, obesity-related cardiorespiratory disease, musculoskeletal dysfunction, and cancer. He has extensive experience applying AI to medicine. He developed an algorithm with Google to detect breast cancer in screening images and led the translation of this work into clinical practice. He also spearheaded the international STARD-AI and QUADAS-AI global reporting guideline initiatives for diagnostic AI. In collaboration with NICE, he is setting the AI health technology assessment (HTA) benchmarks, and he is co-editor-in-chief of Springer Nature’s comprehensive reference text of AI in Medicine.
Hutan has held multiple scientific and clinical positions including: Chief Scientific Adviser at the Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London; Honorary Senior Clinical Fellow in Surgery at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust; Academic Lead for the Big Data Analytical Unit, Imperial College London; Deputy Director (Academic Lead) for the NHS Digital Academy; Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at Oxford Medical Products Ltd. His wide-ranging work has been published in a variety of leading journals including Nature, The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine.
Hutan earned his degree in Medicine at University College London where he also received an honors degree in Immunology and Cell Pathology. He holds a Ph.D. in Computational Physiology and Metabolic Surgery from Imperial College London and a health economics-focused M.B.A. with Distinction from Warwick Business School.
our leadership team
our board of directors
Director, Social & Behavioral Sciences, Community Engagement
Operation Warp Speed
Professor, Department of Gastrointestical Medical Oncology
Chair Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics
Chief Quality Officer
Board member, Kaiser Foundation