The path to curing
We are harnessing the power of immunotherapy to develop and deliver innovative therapies that treat cardiovascular disease.
FOCUS ON Cardio-Immunology
Bitterroot Bio is committed to pioneering the emerging field of cardio-immunology, which investigates the interplay between the immune system and cardiovascular health. Through our research, we have uncovered the critical roles that immune cells and immune modulators play in the development and progression of cardiovascular disease. Our approach builds on the success of immunotherapies in oncology by harnessing the immune system’s natural ability to fight disease.
By understanding the intricate mechanisms by which these cells contribute to disease, we are developing innovative immunotherapies that target the root causes of cardiovascular disease rather than just treating its symptoms. Our approach is grounded in scientific research and close collaboration with cardiologists to ensure the safety and efficacy of our therapies for patients. Our ultimate goal is to provide new hope to those suffering from cardiovascular disease and transform the way these diseases are treated.
Atherosclerosis: AN INFLAMMATORY DISEASE
Atherosclerosis is a complex inflammatory disease that is characterized by the accumulation of fatty deposits, or “plaques,” in the walls of the arteries. Plaques are made up of cholesterol, lipids, and other substances that cause the arteries to narrow and harden, making it difficult for blood to flow through them.
Atherosclerotic plaque formation is a dynamic biological process perpetuated by inflammation. Inflammation in blood vessel plaque triggers an immune response. Immune cells and circulating factors called “cytokines” further increase inflammation and the buildup of dead, or necrotic, debris within the vessel wall. This vicious cycle of inflammation contributes to the evolution and further maturation of the atherosclerotic plaques.
Over time, some plaques may destabilize and rupture, triggering the formation of a clot within the lumen of an artery. These clots can suddenly block blood flow to healthy heart or brain tissue, leading to a cardiovascular event.
We believe that it is possible to prevent atherosclerotic plaques from progressing by targeting CD47, a widely expressed cellular receptor well known for its immunoregulatory functions. This bold and novel therapeutic approach is being investigated to reduce the incidence of debilitating heart attacks and stroke.
THE ROLE OF CD47
CD47 is a protein that is expressed on the surface of cells and acts as a potent “don’t eat me” signal. Its presence enables harmful cells to avoid immune cells such as macrophages. By evading detection and destruction by the immune system, these harmful cells join a growing plaque within the arterial wall.
Recent research has shown that CD47 levels are elevated in the walls of blood vessels of patients with atherosclerosis and that this elevation is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Further studies have revealed that blocking CD47 can enhance macrophage activity and reduce the formation of plaque.
The development of a novel safe and effective “anti-CD47” therapy opens the potential to slow or to prevent the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, with the promise of ultimately making a world without cardiovascular disease possible.
OUR TEAM: COFOUNDERS
Irving L. Weissman, MD
OUR TEAM: Management
Board of Directors
Member, National Academy of Sciences
Chief Data Officer and Institute Scientist, Broad Institute
CLINICAL ADVISORY BOARD
Arthur L. Bloomfield Professor of Medicine and Professor of Health Policy (By Courtesy)
Chair, Department of Medicine
William R. Hiatt Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Research
Executive Director, CPC Clinical Research
Affiliated with the University of Colorado School of Medicine
Eugene Braunwald Professor of Medicine
Director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
Brigham & Women’s Hospital
CHIEF OF THE DIVISION OF CARDIOLOGY (INCOMING)
ANTONIO M. GOTTO JR., MD, PROFESSOR IN ATHEROSCLEROSIS AND LIPID RESEARCH/MEDICINE
Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center
CHIEF OF THE SECTION OF CARDIOVASCULAR RESEARCH
J.S. ABERCROMBIE CHAIR OF ATHEROSCLEROSIS AND LIPOPROTEIN RESEARCH
DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR CARDIOMETABOLIC DISEASE PREVENTION
Baylor College of Medicine
SEYMOUR GRAY PROFESSOR OF MOLECULAR MEDICINE, CHAIR, DEPARTMENT OF GENETICS
CHIEF, DIVISION OF TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE AND HUMAN GENETICS
Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania
Fmr. CEO/President, Array Biostatistics
Ada L. Steininger Professor of Cardiology
Professor of Medicine, Cell Biology and Physiology
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD
Jean and David Blechman Professor of Cardiology
Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center
NYU Grossman School of Medicine
Assistant Professor of Pathology
Co-Director, Immunology Center of Georgia (IMMCG)
GRA Bradley Turner Eminent Scholar Chair in Immunology
Professor of Physiology
Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University
Immunology Center of Georgia
Richard Moerschner Endowed Chair at the MGH Research Institute
Professor of Radiology
Director, Mouse Imaging Program
Massachusetts General Hospital
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Associate Professor, Department of Biology
Director, Cardiovascular Research Institute
Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS & MEDIA:
Blockade of CD47 using a novel anti-CD47 molecule, BRB-002, attenuates atherosclerosis in an ApoE mouse model
TED Talk | Is There a Link Between Cancer and Heart Disease?
Inspired by our cofounders’ connections to Montana—home to the Bitterroot River and the bitterroot plant—our name has a multiplicity of meanings.
Just as the East Fork and West Fork Bitterroot streams join to form a single, more powerful river, we seek to unite two arms of medical innovation, opening new channels through which we may rewrite the future of human health
PRESSURE + FLOW
Like the path of a river, we will never stop evolving, adapting, or flowing. We find new ways to get it done because there is no other way
We have deep reverence for the vast and intricate circuit that is human vasculature. We seek to emulate nature’s elegance in our science
The bitterroot plant has the might to bring itself back to life from its own dry, dying roots. We are inspired by this tiny plant’s tenacious way of living and its ability to press on for the good of the planet
THE BITTER TRUTH
We are authentic in our interactions, unapologetic in our efforts, undaunted by what lies ahead, and unrelenting in the science
Interested in learning more about the Bitterroot team? We’d love to connect.