Blacksmith Medicines, a San Diego, CA-based biotechnology company focused on creating novel medicines for immuno-oncology and inflammatory diseases by targeting human metalloenzymes, raised a seed funding of undisclosed amount.
The company has also entered into a research collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly). Lilly joins existing investors Evotec A.G., MP Healthcare Partners, MagnaSci Ventures, and Alexandria Venture Investments.
Under the terms of the research collaboration agreement, Blacksmith and Lilly will collaborate on up to 5 human metalloenzyme targets, with Blacksmith advancing novel small molecule inhibitors from fragment to ‘hit’ stage after which Lilly has the right to continue research, development, and commercialization. Blacksmith will receive an upfront payment and an investment from Lilly in exchange for a convertible note and will be eligible for up to approximately $60 million per target in potential research, development and commercial milestones for a total potential deal size up to approximately $300 million.
A spin-out of Forge Therapeutics, an antibiotic discovery company discovering therapies to combat the rise of drug resistance, Blacksmith Medicines is advancing a novel metalloenzyme chemistry platform to create new immuno-oncology and inflammation medicines.
The Blacksmith metalloenzyme platform is a drug discovery engine purpose-built to target the largest and most diverse group of enzymes in the human genome. It has:
- A large proprietary fragment library of metal-binding pharmacophores (MBPs);
- A comprehensive database containing a full characterization of the metalloenzyme genome including functions, metal cofactors, and associations to disease;
- A metallo-CRISPR library of custom single guide RNAs;
- A metalloenzyme computational toolkit for docking, modeling and structure-based drug design; and
- A blocking intellectual property estate covering bioinorganic, medicinal, and computational chemistry approaches for metalloenzyme-targeted medicines.
The company is led by Zachary Zimmerman, Ph.D., CEO.