The annual European Antibody Congress (EAC) has traditionally been the key event for updates on critical scientific advances in the antibody field, and 2013 was no exception. Organized by Terrapinn, the well-attended meeting featured presentations on considerations for developing antibodies and antibody-like therapeutics, with separate tracks for antibody-drug conjugates, naked antibodies, and multispecific antibodies or protein scaffolds. The overall focus of the EAC was current approaches to enhance the functionality of therapeutic antibodies or other targeted proteins, with the ultimate goal being improvement of the safety and efficacy of the molecules as treatments for cancer, immune-mediated disorders and other diseases. Roundtable discussion sessions gave participants opportunities to engage in group discussions with industry leaders from companies such as Genmab, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, MedImmune, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, and Pierre Fabre. As the 2013 EAC was co-located with the World Biosimilar Congress, participants also received an update on European Medicines Agency guidelines and thoughts on the future direction and development of biosimilar antibodies in the European Union.
Modifications like asparagine deamidation, aspartate isomerization, methionine oxidation, and lysine glycation are typical degradations for recombinant antibodies. For the identification and functional evaluation of antibody critical quality attributes (CQAs) derived from chemical modifications in the complementary-determining regions (CDRs) and the conserved regions, an approach employing specific stress conditions, elevated temperatures, pH, oxidizing agents, and forced glycation with glucose incubation, was applied. The application of the specific stress conditions combined with ion exchange chromatography, proteolytic peptide mapping, quantitative liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, and functional evaluation by surface plasmon resonance analysis was adequate to identify and functionally assess chemical modification sites in the CDRs of a recombinant IgG1. LC-Met-4, LC-Asn-30/31, LC-Asn-92, HC-Met-100c, and HC Lys-33 were identified as potential CQAs. However, none of the assessed degradation products led to a complete loss of functionality if only one light or heavy chain of the native antibody was affected.
Various constructs of bispecific antibodies (bsAbs) to redirect effector T cells for the targeted killing of tumor cells have shown considerable promise in both preclinical and clinical studies. The single-chain variable fragment (scFv)-based formats, including bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE) and dual-affinity re-targeting (DART), which provide monovalent binding to both CD3 on T cells and to the target antigen on tumor cells, can exhibit rapid blood clearance and neurological toxicity due to their small size (~55 kDa). Herein, we describe the generation, by the modular DOCK-AND-LOCKTM (DNLTM) method, of novel T-cell redirecting bispecific antibodies, each comprising a monovalent anti-CD3 scFv covalently conjugated to a stabilized dimer of different anti-tumor Fabs. The potential advantages of this design include bivalent binding to tumor cells, a larger size (~130 kDa) to preclude renal clearance and penetration of the blood-brain barrier, and potent T-cell mediated cytotoxicity. These prototypes were purified to near homogeneity, and representative constructs were shown to provoke the formation of immunological synapses between T cells and their target tumor cells in vitro, resulting in T-cell activation and proliferation, as well as potent T-cell mediated anti-tumor activity. In addition, in vivo studies in NOD/SCID mice bearing Raji Burkitt lymphoma or Capan-1 pancreatic carcinoma indicated statistically significant inhibition of tumor growth compared with untreated controls.
Antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) has been suggested as an essential mechanism for the in vivo activity of cetuximab, an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeting therapeutic antibody. Thus, enhancing the affinity of human IgG1 antibodies to natural killer (NK) cell-expressed FcγRIIIa by glyco- or protein-engineering of their Fc portion has been demonstrated to improve NK cell-mediated ADCC and to represent a promising strategy to improve antibody therapy. However, human polymorphonuclear (PMN) effector cells express the highly homologous FcγRIIIb isoform, which is described to be ineffective in triggering ADCC. Here, non-fucosylated or protein-engineered anti-EGFR antibodies with optimized FcγRIIIa affinities demonstrated the expected benefit in NK cell-mediated ADCC, but did not mediate ADCC by PMN, which could be restored by FcγRIIIb blockade. Furthermore, eosinophils and PMN from paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria patients that expressed no or low levels of FcγRIIIb mediated effective ADCC with FcγRIII-optimized anti-EGFR antibody. Additional experiments with double FcγRIIa/FcγRIII-optimized constructs demonstrated enhanced PMN-mediated ADCC compared with single FcγRIII-optimized antibody. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that FcγRIIIb engagement impairs PMN-mediated ADCC activity of FcγRIII-optimized anti-EGFR antibodies, while further optimization of FcγRIIa binding significantly restores PMN recruitment.
Background: Due to genetic similarities with humans, primates of the macaque genus such as the cynomolgus monkey are often chosen as models for toxicology studies of antibody therapies. IgE therapeutics in development depend upon engagement with the FcεRI and FcεRII receptors on immune effector cells for their function. Only limited knowledge of the primate IgE immune system is available to inform the choice of models for mechanistic and safety evaluations.
Methods: The recognition of human IgE by peripheral blood lymphocytes from cynomolgus monkey and man was compared. We used effector cells from each species in ex vivo affinity, dose-response, antibody-receptor dissociation and potency assays.
Results: We report cross-reactivity of human IgE Fc with cynomolgus monkey cells, and comparable binding kinetics to peripheral blood lymphocytes from both species. In competition and dissociation assays, however, human IgE dissociated faster from cynomolgus monkey compared with human effector cells. Differences in association and dissociation kinetics were reflected in effector cell potency assays of IgE-mediated target cell killing, with higher concentrations of human IgE needed to elicit effector response in the cynomolgus monkey system. Additionally, human IgE binding on immune effector cells yielded significantly different cytokine release profiles in each species.
Conclusion: These data suggest that human IgE binds with different characteristics to human and cynomolgus monkey IgE effector cells. This is likely to affect the potency of IgE effector functions in these two species, and so has relevance for the selection of biologically-relevant model systems when designing pre-clinical toxicology and functional studies.
Overexpression of CD70 has been documented in a variety of solid and hematological tumors, where it is thought to play a role in tumor proliferation and evasion of immune surveillance. Here, we describe ARGX-110, a defucosylated IgG1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) that selectively targets and neutralizes CD70, the ligand of CD27.
ARGX-110 was generated by immunization of outbred llamas. The antibody was germlined to 95% human identity, and its anti-tumor efficacy was tested in several in vitro assays. ARGX-110 binds CD70 with picomolar affinity. In depletion studies, ARGX-110 lyses tumor cells with greater efficacy than its fucosylated version. In addition, ARGX-110 demonstrates strong complement-dependent cytotoxicity and antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis activity. ARGX-110 inhibits signaling of CD27, which results in blocking of the activation and proliferation of Tregs. In a Raji xenograft model, administration of the fucosylated version of ARGX-110 resulted in a prolonged survival at doses of 0.1 mg/kg and above. The pharmacokinetics of ARGX-110 was tested in cynomolgus monkeys; the calculated half-life is 12 days.
In conclusion, ARGX-110 is a potent blocking mAb with a dual mode of action against both CD70-bearing tumor cells and CD70-dependent Tregs. This antibody is now in a Phase 1 study in patients with advanced malignancies expressing CD70 (NCT01813539).
The humanized monoclonal antibody H27K15 specifically targets human CD115, a type III tyrosine kinase receptor involved in multiple cancers and inflammatory diseases. Binding of H27K15 to hCD115 expressing cells inhibits the functional effect of colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1), in a non-competitive manner. Both homology modeling and docking programs were used here to model the human CD115 extracellular domains, the H27K15 variable region and their interaction. The resulting predicted H27K15 epitope includes mainly the D1 domain in the N-terminal extracellular region of CD115 and some residues of the D2 domain. Sequence alignment with the non-binding murine CD115, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and affinity measurements by quartz crystal microbalance revealed critical residues of this epitope that are essential for H27K15 binding. A combination of computational simulations and biochemical experiments led to the design of a chimeric CD115 carrying the human epitope of H27K15 in a murine CD115 backbone that is able to bind both H27K15 as well as the murine ligands CSF-1 and IL-34. These results provide new possibilities to minutely study the functional effects of H27K15 in a transgenic mouse that would express this chimeric molecule.