South Korean biotech firm Bridge Biotherapeutics has dosed the first patient in its Phase lla trial of BBT-877 to treat patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

The trial will assess the efficacy, safety and tolerability of BBT-877, an autotaxin (ATX) inhibitor, in the targeted patients.

During the multi-centre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, patients will be given 200mg, twice daily (BID) dose of BBT-877 or a placebo.

The trial will include around 120 patients who have or have not received existing standard treatments, such as pirfenidone or nintedanib.

It is planned to be conducted at nearly 50 sites in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Top line data from the trial are expected to be released in the second half of this year.

Bridge Biotherapeutics founder and CEO James Lee said: “The first patient dosing of BBT-877 marks an important milestone in our efforts to develop innovative treatments for patients suffering from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

“We are dedicated to the advancement of this novel drug candidate, which we believe has the potential to make a meaningful impact in the lives of IPF patients and their families.”

Bridge noted that BBT-877 showed its capability to inhibit lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) production by as much as 90% in a Phase l trial carried out in 2019.

LPA has the ability to bind to cell receptors and induce multiple physiological activities, including neovascularisation, sclerosis, tumorigenesis and tumour metastasis, thereby causing several fibrotic diseases, such as IPF.