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3356 The Factor VIII Variant X5 Enhances Hemophilia a Gene Therapy Efficiency By Its Improved Secretion

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 801. Gene Therapy and Transfer: Poster II
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Diseases, Hemophilia, Bleeding and clotting, Therapies, Clinically relevant
Sunday, December 8, 2019, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM
Hall B, Level 2 (Orange County Convention Center)

Franziska Horling, PhD1*, Johannes Lengler, PhD1*, Wenjing Cao, PhD2*, Biao Dong, PhD2*, Bagirath Gangadharan3*, Maurus De La Rosa, PhD1*, Werner Hoellriegl, PhD3, Birgit M Reipert, PhD1*, Friedrich Scheiflinger3*, Weidong Xiao, PhD2,4* and Hanspeter Rottensteiner5*

1Drug Discovery Austria, Baxalta Innovations GmbH, a Takeda company, Vienna, Austria
2Sol Sherry Thrombosis Research Center, Temple University Medical School, Philadelphia, PA
3Baxalta Innovations GmbH, a Takeda company, Vienna, Austria
4Ivygen, Philadelphia, PA
5Baxalta Innovations Gmbh, A Member of the Takeda Group of Companies, Vienna, Austria

Introduction. Adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based factor VIII (FVIII) gene therapy holds great promise to provide clinical benefit in patients with hemophilia A. However, very high doses are currently needed to achieve therapeutic factor levels and the durability appears to be limited to a couple of years. Vector efficiency could be improved by employing more potent liver-specific promoters, but this might come at the price of overstraining the cellular protein folding capacity, causing FVIII to misfold in the lumen of the Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER). This event would in turn activate the unfolded protein response, cause oxidative stress, and if not resolved may even induce cell death.

Aims. The objective of the presented study was to test whether the B-domain deleted (BDD)-FVIII-X5 variant can overcome the secretion challenge of high level FVIII expression in the context of hepatic gene therapy.

Methods. The human FVIII variant BDD-FVIII-X5 harboring 5 amino acid exchanges in the A1 domain was previously isolated in a screen aimed at identifying those residues in porcine FVIII that are critical for efficient secretion. BDD-FVIII and BDD-FVIII-X5 were produced in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells and purified to apparent homogeneity using standard procedures. The preparations were assayed for total protein by UV absorbance at 280 nm and FVIII activity by a chromogenic assay. Both FVIII variants were vectorized using AAV8 and tested in the human liver cell line HepG2 and FVIII knockout mice (E17) at various doses. Resulting samples were assayed for FVIII chromogenic activity. The potential immunogenic risk was evaluated in three hemophilic mouse strains (E17, human FVIII transgenic, humanized HLA-DRB1*1501).

Results. A characterization of purified recombinant Refacto-like BDD-FVIII and the corresponding X5 variant revealed similarity of the two proteins and their specific activities in particular, indicating that introduction of the 5 amino acids from porcine FVIII did not alter functionality of human BDD-FVIII. In vitro expression of BDD-FVIII-X5 in a human liver cell line resulted in substantially increased FVIII activity levels in the supernatant compared with the non-modified BDD-FVIII, commensurate with enhanced secretion of the X5 variant. Intravenous delivery of liver-targeted AAV8 vectors carrying the BDD-FVIII-X5 transgene achieved substantial increases in plasma coagulation activity over BDD-FVIII in FVIII-deficient mice, even when highly efficient codon-optimized F8 nucleotide sequences were employed. Evaluation of the immunogenicity of the BDD-FVIII-X5 variant by an immunological risk assessment did not reveal any increased immunogenic risk compared to BDD-FVIII.

Conclusions: The fully active BDD-FVIII-X5 variant demonstrated improved secretion in vitro and in vivo, resulting in substantially higher FVIII levels in a hemophilia A mouse model. No signs of enhanced immunogenicity were noted in a comparative immunogenicity study. The results obtained warrant further exploration of the BDD-FVIII-X5 variant for a next generation hemophilia A gene therapy.

Disclosures: Horling: Baxalta Innovations GmbH, a Takeda company: Employment. Lengler: Baxalta Innovations GmbH, a Takeda company: Employment. Gangadharan: Baxalta Innovations GmbH, a Takeda company: Employment. De La Rosa: Baxalta Innovations GmbH, a Takeda company: Employment, Equity Ownership. Hoellriegl: Baxalta Innovations GmbH, a Takeda company: Employment, Equity Ownership. Reipert: Baxalta Innovations GmbH, a Takeda company: Employment, Equity Ownership. Scheiflinger: Baxalta Innovations GmbH, a Takeda company: Employment, Equity Ownership. Xiao: Ivygen: Other: Patent application on FVIII-X5 has been submitted. Rottensteiner: Baxalta Innovations GmbH, a Takeda company: Employment, Equity Ownership.

*signifies non-member of ASH