“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.
Prof. Zachary Smith, Ph.D.
Dr. Smith is an Assistant Professor at the Yale Stem Cell Center, Department of Genetics, and Yale Cancer Center.
Dr. Smith received his B.S. in Biology from M.I.T. in 2008 and joined Dr. Alex Meissner’s new lab at Harvard University’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology shortly thereafter. During his time there, Zack published research on direct reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotency, including early cellular and epigenetic dynamics, and applied emerging genome-scale technologies to study DNA methylation in precious samples. He continued applying cutting edge technologies to study the cellular and epigenetic dynamics that accompany critical windows of animal development from fertilization through the formation of the initial body plan. Zack received his Ph.D. in 2019 and joined the Yale Stem Cell Center and Department of Genetics as an Assistant Professor in September, 2020. He has been the recipient of the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the Chen Innovator Award, a Mathers Foundation Fellowship, and the Kingsley Fellowship.
Dr. Smith’s lab focuses on genome scale changes that accompany critical windows in development, including fertilization, the assembly the placental and embryonic lineages, and gastrulation. His lab continues to innovate new technologies to unravel the complex dynamics that determine healthy or abnormal fetal development as they scale from genes to cells and ultimately whole organisms.
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