Blade Therapeutics announces publication of preclinical data supporting Calpain 9 as a promising therapeutic target for fibriotic disease

21 August 2019

Findings validate the mechanism of action for the Company’s lead asset, BLD-2660

South San Francisco, CA – July 31, 2019 – Blade Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company advancing novel anti-fibrotic therapies, today announced publication in Science Translational Medicine (11, eaau2814. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aau2814) of a paper titled “Calpain 9 as a therapeutic target in TGFβ-induced mesenchymal transition and fibrosis”. The experimental results summarized in this publication were performed at Johns Hopkins University and demonstrate the integral role that Calpain 9 plays in the promotion of fibrotic disease. These results provided the foundational research that led to the conception of Blade Therapeutics and scientific rationale for developing its lead asset, BLD-2660.

“The lack of effective therapies is a clear reflection of the difficulty treating fibrotic disorders,” stated Blade’s scientific founder, Harry (Hal) Dietz, M.D., Victor A. McKusick Professor of Genetics and Medicine, Johns Hopkins University and a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator. “Blade’s lead asset, BLD-2660, was designed under the premise that certain calpains are overexpressed and activated in many fibrotic diseases, and inhibiting these calpains should provide therapeutic benefit in arresting or reversing fibrosis in various tissues and organs.”

BLD-2660 is an optimized small molecule inhibitor of dimeric calpains 1, 2 and 9. The drug is currently being evaluated in a Phase I dose escalation study in healthy volunteers in Australia. Blade expects to complete dosing this quarter. The Company will submit an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the U.S. FDA upon completion of the Phase I study with expectations to initiate a Phase II trial of BLD-2660 in patients with liver fibrosis by year-end 2019.

“This is a pivotal time in Blade’s life cycle,” commented Wendye Robbins, M.D., Blade’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We plan to initiate our first U.S. proof-of-concept trial of BLD-2660 in liver fibrosis by the end of the year, and this publication serves to reiterate conviction in our approach to treating fibrosis through calpain inhibition. As our lead program advances, we are also moving forward with our second asset, BLD-2184, which is a CNS penetrating dimeric calpain inhibitor.”

BLD-2184 is currently under preclinical evaluation as a neuroprotective agent in certain orphan neurodegenerative diseases caused by genetic expansion of poly-glutamine repeats (e.g. Huntington’s Disease and Machado-Joseph Disease).

About Blade Therapeutics

Blade Therapeutics is a private, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company advancing novel anti-fibrotic therapies to meet important patient needs. Blade’s lead compound, BLD-2660, is a highly selective calpain inhibitor targeted for the treatment of chronic fibrotic diseases. BLD-2660 is in a Phase I, healthy volunteer, dose escalation study in Australia, and the Company plans to submit an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the U.S. FDA and initiate a Phase II trial in patients with liver fibrosis by year-end 2019. Blade has assembled a critical mass of anti-fibrotic drug development expertise within its top-tier leadership team and a world-class network of advisors. Lead investors in Blade include MPM Capital, Deerfield, Pfizer Ventures, One Ventures, Osage Partners, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research. Please visit for more information.

Blade Therapeutics
Wendye Robbins, M.D., President and CEO
[email protected]
Burns McClellan
Cameron Radinovic
[email protected]

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