South Korea’s Bridge Biotherapeutics said on Monday it and Boehringer Ingelheim have mutually agreed on the termination of their license agreement signed in July 2019 to develop BBT-877 for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and various fibrotic diseases.
The termination was determined according to Boehringer Ingelheim’s internal guidelines over toxicity concerns, but details were not disclosed.
Kosdaq-listed Bridge Biotherapeutics shares finished down 2.87 percent at 11,850 won ($10.62) Tuesday after plunging nearly 14 percent on the opening bell.
Under the July deal, the Germany-based pharmaceutical firm had offered to pay a maximum 1.46 trillion won ($1.3 billion) for the rights in the investigational IPF drug under development by five-year-old Korean biotech startup Bridge Biotherapeutics.
The Korean company received non-refundable €45 million ($51 million) upfront and was entitled to receive up to €1.1 billion as future milestone payments contingent upon achievement of certain commercial objectives. BBT-877 is an inhibitor of autotaxin, an enzyme which plays a role in cell fibrosis.
Doubts were raised when Bridge Biotherapeutics announced in August that its Phase 2 study due in July could be delayed to the first half of 2023. The Korean company said it will hold a meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the first quarter of next year to fix its clinical trial procedure, but the market cast a doubtful eye to its deal.
With the deal termination, Bridge Biotherapeutics redeems all rights to BBT-877.
The company said it will closely work with regulatory authorities to clarify future development plan and necessary studies to initiate human trials in the future continue commercial development of the drug.
By Park Yoon-kyun and Minu Kim
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