New life sciences accelerator Blackbird Labs has launched with a $100m grant from The Stephen and Renee Bisciotti Foundation, along with research collaborations with several US universities.  

The aim of the organisation is to accelerate the development and commercialisation of medicines and technologies to help patients with unmet medical needs. The initial focus is on inflammation and immunology, neurological diseases, genetic diseases, and cancer. Blackbird is collaborating with Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), and the Lieber Institute for Brain Development, for this project. 

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Blackbird Labs was created in January and is led by CEO Matt Tremblay, who previously led a group at the genomics institute of the Novartis Research Foundation. The organisation also has a group of advisors from the global life sciences venture investment community and business leaders. 

Blackbird Labs has already funded and established a portfolio of collaborations with its partners, including small molecule therapeutics for the comprehensive treatment of schizophrenia, in partnership with the Lieber Institute for Brain Development.  

The goal of the research programme is to create medications that can effectively address the symptoms of schizophrenia by modulating neuronal receptors to rebalance the brain’s neural circuits.  

GlobalData epidemiologists forecast that there will be 2,963,482 cases of schizophrenia in the US by 2031, an increase from 2,752,858 in 2021. One of the companies in this space, Karuna Therapeutics announced the submission of a new drug application (NDA) to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for KarXT (xanomeline-trospium), an antipsychotic drug developed for the treatment of schizophrenia, in September. 

GlobalData is the parent company of Pharmaceutical Technology. 

University of Maryland’s economic development senior vice-president Jim Hughes said: “By accelerating commercialisation of UMB technologies and helping to keep our startups in Baltimore, Matt and his team will have a meaningful impact on the Baltimore region and life science industry as a whole.”  

This content was updated on 25 January 2024