Blackbird Laboratories, Inc. (“Blackbird Labs”), a next-generation life sciences accelerator, today announced that it has launched with a $100 million founding grant from The Stephen and Renee Bisciotti Foundation and research collaborations with Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and the Lieber Institute for Brain Development. Blackbird Labs’ mission is to help universities and investigators commercialize their academic research to build innovative companies, bring world-changing technologies to life, and create a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Baltimore.
Baltimore has long been recognized as a leading hub for innovative research in the United States. Both Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland rank in the top 20 of all U.S. universities in total research and development spending (Johns Hopkins University has been the top research university in the U.S. for 43 consecutive years). Moreover, Maryland is ranked first among all 50 states in securing federal funding for research and development. Despite major breakthroughs in biomedical research, there is often a “valley of death” between academic science and a new drug or technology that reaches patients. Blackbird Labs provides capital and strategic advice from its team of life sciences professionals to help bridge that gap between pioneering academic science and industry.
“Baltimore is a city where great people do great things – we want to help build a thriving technology ecosystem on that strong foundation,” said Steve Bisciotti, owner of the Baltimore Ravens.
The grant to Blackbird Labs aligns with The Stephen and Renee Bisciotti Foundation’s mission to promote entrepreneurship, expand resources to underserved communities, and reduce the opportunity gap. Established in 2001 in MD – Founded by Stephen J. Bisciotti, owner of the National Football League’s Baltimore Ravens. Bisciotti is also the co-founder of Aerotek, a staffing company in the aerospace and technology sectors that grew into the Allegis Group, the largest privately held staffing firm in the United States.
Blackbird Labs is the product of a multiyear research effort to uncover the best models for commercializing university research.
“We visited both well-established and nascent technology hubs around the country to find out what worked and what didn’t, and we tried to borrow from successful examples when we created Blackbird,” said Ryland Sumner, President of Point Field Partners (Bisciotti’s family office), who chairs Blackbird Labs’ board.
Blackbird Labs is led by Matt Tremblay, Ph.D., the CEO and a founding member of the board of directors since Blackbird Labs’ creation in January 2023. Formerly Chief Operating Officer of The Scripps Research Institute and its drug discovery division, Calibr, Tremblay relocated to Baltimore with his family this year with a team of former colleagues to help bring Bisciotti’s vision to life. Tremblay and colleagues bring a wealth of experience in early-stage technology research and business strategy.
“We are thrilled to launch Blackbird Labs, with a bold ambition to develop new technologies and therapies emerging from Baltimore’s premier research institutions,” said Matt Tremblay, Ph.D., CEO. “We are poised to make a major contribution to Baltimore’s emerging biotechnology ecosystem by fostering new start-ups that attract capital and talent to Baltimore.”
The new initiative seeks to build on a growing track record of technology development established by Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures (Johns Hopkins University) and UM Ventures (the University of Maryland, Baltimore).
“For more than a decade, our commercialization team at Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures has fostered an innovation ecosystem in Baltimore for the betterment of our neighbors and our world,” said Ron Daniels, President of Johns Hopkins University. “Blackbird Labs promises to accelerate and amplify that important work, and we are so grateful for their investment and partnership.”
“The University of Maryland, Baltimore is investing in world-class life sciences research and innovation initiatives. Blackbird Labs will help these investments result in new therapies for patients and jobs for Baltimore,” said Dr. Bruce Jarrell, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
Blackbird Labs is a next-generation life sciences accelerator dedicated to engineering a better future for patients facing unmet medical needs. Blackbird Labs is focused on collaborating with academics and investors to launch world-changing companies and technologies. Blackbird Labs has entered into foundational collaborations with Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and the Lieber Institute for Brain Development to translate today’s science into tomorrow’s groundbreaking discoveries.