Bridge Joins With Cellion to Advance BBT-301 as IPF Ion Channel Therapy

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by Marisa Wexler MS |

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Bridge Biotherapeutics has entered into an exclusive option-to-license agreement with Cellion BioMed to develop BBT-301, an experimental ion modulator therapy, as a potential treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and other fibrotic diseases.

“We are highly excited to in-license BBT-301, a novel drug candidate for the treatment of fibrotic diseases,” James Lee, CEO of Bridge, said in a press release.

Under the agreement, Bridge will make an upfront payment of about $400,000 to Cellion, with the potential for additional payments if developmental milestones are met. The two companies will jointly conduct studies into new indications for BBT-301.

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Ions are charged salt particles — sodium, chloride, calcium, and potassium all are examples of common ions in the body. Because ions have an electrical charge, they cannot pass through cell membranes on their own. Instead, cells have specialized proteins, called ion channels, that function like “gates” to allow certain ions to move in or out.

By opening or closing these channels, cells can regulate the flow of ions. This type of regulation plays a key role in numerous cellular processes. For example, the flow of sodium and potassium ions through the membranes of nerve cells is central to the generation of electrical impulses, while the flow of calcium across membranes in muscle cells is critical for muscle contraction.

BBT-301 works by modulating the activity of certain ion channels in cells. The experimental therapy, discovered by Cellion, was reported to have shown an ability to block fibrosis, or tissue scarring, and to have a stable safety profile.

“As the originator, we will ensure the close cooperation and coordination with Bridge Biotherapeutics, in order to provide innovative treatments for various fibrotic diseases,” said Seong Jin Kim, PhD, president and CEO of Cellion BioMed.

Bridge is also developing BBT-877 as a potential therapy for IPF and other diseases driven by excessive tissue scarring.

“In addition to BBT-877, an autotaxin inhibitor for the treatment of IPF, Bridge will strengthen its commitment to develop novel anti-fibrotic drugs and to address unmet medical needs within the fibrotic disease area, based on the solid collaboration with CellionBioMed,” Lee said.

Under its option-to-license agreement, Bridge retains the right to obtain an exclusive license depending on the outcome of studies into BBT-301 during the option period.