SAN DIEGO, Jan. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Blacksmith Medicines, Inc. (Blacksmith), a biotechnology company focused on creating novel medicines for immuno-oncology and inflammatory diseases by targeting human metalloenzymes, announced today that it has secured seed funding and has entered into a research collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly). Lilly joins existing Blacksmith investors Evotec A.G., MP Healthcare Partners, MagnaSci Ventures, and Alexandria Venture Investments. Blacksmith is a spin-out of Forge Therapeutics, a leading antibiotic discovery company discovering therapies to combat the rise of drug resistance.
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.
The Blacksmith metalloenzyme platform is a unique drug discovery engine purpose-built to target the largest and most diverse group of enzymes in the human genome. Blacksmith's proprietary platform has several distinct advantages over traditional drug discovery approaches including:
- 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 first-of-its-kind metallo-CRISPR library of custom single guide RNAs;
- An industry-leading metalloenzyme computational toolkit for docking, modeling and structure-based drug design; and
- A robust and blocking intellectual property estate covering bioinorganic, medicinal, and computational chemistry approaches for metalloenzyme-targeted medicines.
"We are excited to launch Blacksmith Medicines with our investors and enter this research collaboration with Lilly, who collectively share our commitment to advancing novel chemistry approaches to create new medicines for patients in need," said Zachary Zimmerman, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder. "With the creation of Blacksmith, we are now able to expand our metalloenzyme platform into other therapeutic areas outside of anti-infectives, deepening our expertise and creating increased value for our shareholders, strategic partners and patients. We look forward to broadening the reach of our technology as we focus our efforts on identifying novel targets for immuno-oncology and inflammatory diseases."
About Blacksmith Medicines
At Blacksmith Medicines, we are developing medicines targeting metal-dependent enzymes found in human physiology. Over 30% of known enzymes are metalloenzymes, covering all major enzyme classes: oxidoreductases, transferases, hydrolases, lyases, isomerases, and ligases. Metal ions, including magnesium, zinc, iron, manganese and copper, are the essential ingredient in these metalloenzymes. We recognized a large unmet need for new chemical matter and innovative approaches to drug this important class of enzymes. Our purpose-built platform for metalloenzyme-targeted medicines combines for the first time in industry, a focused library of metal-binding pharmacophores with proprietary computational modeling approaches to rapidly and rationally design small molecule inhibitors that interact with key metal ions in the enzyme's active site. Our comprehensive knowledge of the metal environment and key active site interactions enables Blacksmith to rapidly build potent and selective inhibitors in a stepwise and predictable manner.
For further information, please visit the company's website at www.BlacksmithMedicines.com and follow us on LinkedIn.
About Forge Therapeutics
At Forge Therapeutics, we are developing novel antibiotics targeting bacterial metal-dependent enzymes. Forge has a strategic antibiotic discovery relationship with Evotec AG, antibiotic research collaborations with Basilea Pharmaceutica International Ltd. and Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., and has been awarded funding by CARB-X as well as government agencies. For further information, please visit the company's website www.ForgeTherapeutics.com and follow us on Twitter @ForgeThera.
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SOURCE Blacksmith Medicines