Boehringer Ingelheim has announced a collaboration and global license agreement for Bridge Biotherapeutics’ autotaxin inhibitor BBT-877 to be developed for fibrosing interstitial lung diseases including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

BBT-877 is currently in Phase I clinical studies and is anticipated to enter Phase II testing within the next 12 months.

Both companies have announced plans to initially focus on developing the compound for the treatment of IPF, an area of high-unmet medical need and one of the key focus areas of Boehringer Ingelheim.

Under the terms of the deal Bridge Biotherapeutics will receive upfront and near-term payments of 45 million Euros and is eligible to receive up to more than 1.1 billion W in potential payments based upon the successful achievement of specified development, regulatory, and commercial milestones and staggered, up to double digit royalties.

Michel Pairet, member of Boehringer Ingelheim’s board of managing directors, said that the company is “looking forward to working with the team at Bridge Biotherapeutics to develop a new treatment option for patients with IPF. This new collaboration complements our growing pipeline in fibrosing interstitial lung diseases and is a sign of our determination to bring the next generation of treatment options to these patients.”

Boehringer Ingelheim has also developed OFEV (nintedanib), an antifibrotic drug shown to slow disease progression by reducing lung function decline and currently approved for the treatment of IPF in more than 70 countries around the world including the US, the EU and Japan.

IPF is a rare, debilitating and fatal lung disease affecting approximately three million people worldwide. It causes progressive scarring of the lungs, resulting in continual and irreversible deterioration in lung function and breathing difficulties.