SEONGNAM, South Korea and AURORA, Colo., March 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Bridge Biotherapeutics (KQ288330), a South Korean clinical-stage biotech company developing novel drugs for cancer, fibrosis, and inflammation, announced a research collaboration with Dr. Raul Torres’s Lab at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The collaboration will focus on exploring the potential of BBT-877, a novel autotaxin (ATX) inhibitor, as an immuno-oncology treatment for cancer.

Throughout his previous and ongoing research, Dr. Raul Torres, Professor of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, has  shown that lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) plays a role in modulating CD8 T cell immunosurveillance and metabolism, ultimately disrupting the body’s anti-tumor immunity.[i] LPA, a lipid that increases in its concentration across various cancer types, interacts with six different G protein-coupled receptors (LPA receptor 1-6, LPAR 1-6) to activate pathways and downstream signaling molecules leading to inflammation and fibrosis. According to recent research by Dr. Torres, the engagement of LPAR5 to LPA leads to the inhibition of cytotoxic function of CD8 T cells, thereby allowing cancer cells to evade immune surveillance. Silencing the inhibitory signaling of the LPA-LPAR5 pathway by reducing LPA levels is expected to enhance CD8 T cell immunity and improve effectiveness in killing cancer.[ii]

The joint research effort is focused on BBT-877, a novel ATX inhibitor that has been found to reduce LPA production by as much as 90% in human studies. The goal is to assess BBT-877’s potential as an immuno-oncology treatment. Early findings suggest that it may boost the immune system’s ability to attack cancer cells by enhancing antigen-specific target cell killing, reducing LPA-mediated activation of LPAR5, and suppressing T cell dysfunction, leading to stronger anti-tumor immunity.

“We are excited to collaborate with Dr. Torres’s Lab to investigate the potential of BBT-877 as a novel immuno-oncology treatment,” said James Lee, CEO of Bridge Biotherapeutics. “Dr. Torres’s groundbreaking research on the role of the LPA-LPAR axis and T cell antigen receptor signaling in anti-tumor immunity has suggested the potential of autotaxin inhibitors to expand its indication into immuno-oncology,” he added.

Dr. Raul Torres, Professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, stated, “By collaborating with Bridge Biotherapeutics, we aim to deepen our understanding of the intricate mechanisms underlying anti-tumor immunity with regards to the LPA-LPAR axis and to translate scientific findings into novel therapeutic strategies that can enhance immune responses against cancer.”

Under the terms of the collaboration, Bridge Biotherapeutics will provide financial support and access to BBT-877, while Dr. Raul Torres’s Lab will contribute its expertise in immunology and cancer biology. Together, the two entities will conduct preclinical studies to evaluate the therapeutic potential of BBT-877 in enhancing anti-tumor immunity.

About Bridge Biotherapeutics, Inc.

Bridge Biotherapeutics Inc., based in the Republic of Korea and the U.S., is a publicly traded, clinical-stage biotech company founded in 2015. Bridge Biotherapeutics is engaged in the discovery and development of novel therapeutics, focusing on therapeutic areas with high unmet needs, including fibrotic diseases and cancers. The company is developing BBT-877, a novel autotaxin inhibitor for the treatment of fibrotic diseases including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and BBT-207, a potent targeted cancer therapy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with EGFR C797S mutations. Learn more at

About Autotaxin

Autotaxin (ATX), a protein of approximately 900 amino acids discovered in the early 1990s, is an important enzyme for generating the lipid-signaling molecule, lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). Autotaxin’s lysophospholipase D activity converts lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) into LPA, which engages in signaling via LPA receptors. LPA signaling results in cell proliferation, migration, secretion of cytokines and chemokines, and reduction of cell apoptosis. Ultimately, autotaxin has a pathogenic role in processes of inflammation and fibrosis, making it an attractive drug target.

[i] Turner, Jacqueline A et al. “Lysophosphatidic acid modulates CD8 T cell immunosurveillance and metabolism to impair anti-tumor immunity.” Nature communications vol. 14,1 3214. 3 Jun. 2023, doi:10.1038/s41467-023-38933-4

[ii] Mathew, Divij et al. “LPA5 Is an Inhibitory Receptor That Suppresses CD8 T-Cell Cytotoxic Function via Disruption of Early TCR Signaling.” Frontiers in immunology vol. 10 1159. 28 May. 2019, doi:10.3389/fimmu.2019.01159

Source: Bridge Biotherapeutics, Inc.