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Black Diamond Gets $85M for Cancer Drugs R&D and New Cambridge HQ

Xconomy Boston — 

When Black Diamond Therapeutics emerged from stealth mode last month with $20 million in backing and a handful of preclinical cancer drugs, the company signaled that another financing was in the works for 2019. That day is here.

Black Diamond announced late Wednesday that it has closed $85 million in Series B financing, which the company says it will use to advance its top drug candidates into human testing within the next two years.

Black Diamond was incubated within the Switzerland drug discovery unit of venture capital firm Versant Ventures. The company is developing drugs that target allosteric sites, less obvious targets on a molecule that can still produce an outsized effect on the activity of that molecule. Black Diamond has technology that it says can find oncogenes, the genes that spark the growth of cancers. The genes can be activated by mutations, including allosteric mutations. The company says its technology can show how oncogenes are activated, which helps scientists develop corresponding drugs.

So far, Black Diamond says its research has produced five drug programs. The company plans to use the funding to advance up to three of them into clinical trials. It will also use the cash to further develop its drug technology and to set up a new corporate headquarters in Cambridge, MA.

New Enterprise Associates and RA Capital Management led the Series B round. Additional new investors NexTech Invest, The Invus Group, and Perceptive Advisors, also participated in the financing, joining founding investor Versant Ventures.

Image by Flickr user Ed Uthman under a Creative Commons license