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3009 KPMW135, a Biosuperior CD3 Bispecific Version of Rituximab Created By a Novel Chemical Conjugation Technology Demonstrates Increased Anti-Tumor Activity By Adding T Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity Activity to the Existing Mechanisms of Rituximab

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 625. Lymphoma: Pre-Clinical—Chemotherapy and Biologic Agents: Poster III
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Biological, Leukemia, antibodies, Follicular Lymphoma, Diseases, CLL, Lymphoma (any), Therapies, Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, B-Cell Lymphoma, Immune Disorders, Technology and Procedures, immunotherapy, Lymphoid Malignancies, NK cells, Clinically relevant, flow cytometry
Monday, December 7, 2020, 7:00 AM-3:30 PM

Christian Vidal, PhD1*, Michael Cukan, PhD1*, Ada Vaill, MS1*, Anna Bunin, PhD1*, Ann Marie Rossi, MS1*, Lawrence Iben, MA1*, David Trinh, BS1*, Katy McGrath, BS1*, Tanya Berbasova, PhD1*, Rizwan Romee, MD2, Enrique Alvarez, DVM1*, Luca Rastelli, PhD1* and Matthew Welsch, PhD1*

1Kleo Pharmaceuticals, New Haven, CT
2Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA


We describe KPMW135, a novel CD20 x CD3 bispecific molecule, in which a CD3-directed ScFv (SP34) is conjugated to rituximab (RTX). RTX is a chimeric monoclonal antibody (mAb) specific for CD20, used to treat B-cell lymphomas and lymphocytic leukemias. Monoclonal Ab therapy enhancer (MATE™) enables efficient site-directed chemical conjugation to “off-the-shelf” therapeutic mAbs and allows the development of bispecific therapeutic candidates. Our MATE platform allows for the chemical engineering of existing Abs without the need to create new DNA vectors or genetic engineering of master cell lines. This approach is superior to previous conjugation methods that 1) lack site-directed conjugation specificity by indiscriminately binding to available amino acid residues or 2) require genetic engineering to create conjugate tags.


SP34 scFv was constructed using published CDRs. The expression was in FreeStyle 293 cells, followed by affinity purification and SEC to obtain monomeric scFv. The binding of CD20 to KPMW135 was measured by Bio-Layer Interferometry using Octet (Fortebio). Equilibrium dissociation constant (Kd) was calculated using the Octet HT software. The binding of CD3εδ, CD16a, and FcRn were determined by ELISA using neutravidin-coated plates. Biotinylated Human CD3ε & CD3δ heterodimer protein (Avi tag), CD16a (Avi Tag) and human CD16a were used. Readout was determined with anti-human F(ab) HRP.

For in vitro T cell-mediated cytotoxicity assays, unfractionated and NK-cell depleted PBMCs were prepared from freshly-thawed and PHA + IL-2 prestimulated PBMCs. Daudi (CD20+) B lymphoblast cells were engineered to stably express a beta-gal reporter fragment using KILR retroparticles (Eurofins). Target cells were treated with KPMW135, RTX, and controls. PBMCs were introduced at an effector:target ratio of 15:1 and incubated for 18h. Luminescence signal was obtained with luminometer to reflect target cell death.

Cynomolgus monkeys were intravenously injected with RTX or KPMW135 (30 μg/kg). Endpoints included clinical observations, cytokine profile and flow cytometric immunophenotyping of T cells, monocytes, granulocytes, NK cells, and B cells (CD45, CD3, CD16, CD14, NKG2A, HLA DR) and cellular activation (CD44 and CD69).


Binding affinity of CD20 to KPMW135 was 0.75nM. CD20 binding to RTX and KPMW135 was similar, thus conjugation of the CD3-binding ScFv did not negatively affect affinity to CD20. ELISA results show KPMW135 binds to CD3εδ, FcRn, and CD16a, indicating that the conjugation does not interfere with binding to their various moieties.

In vitro T cell-mediated cytotoxicity results show the activity of Fc/FcR and CD20 binding by the RTX moiety versus CD3 binding to effector T cells. T cell enrichment by functionally prestimulated PBMCs increased killing of target cells by 2-fold. Mechanically depleted NK cells verified that target cell death was induced by T cells, rather than by NK cells via ADCC. KPMW135 elicited target cell killing with an EC50 of 0.03-0.07nM or 0.09-021nM for prestimulated or freshly thawed PBMCs, respectively.

Studies in Cynomolgus monkeys showed that KPMW135 can activate T cells in vivo as shown by increased CD69 and CD44 expression (3- and 2-fold, respectively) with a peak at 4h post-dose compared to equivalent dose RTX. A pronounced depletion of B cells was observed in KPMW135 treated animals as early as half hour post-dose, with a partial recovery by days 7-14, while an equivalent dose of RTX induced a transient B-cell depletion followed by a quicker return to baseline levels.


KPMW135 is a CD20 x CD3 bispecific created by chemical conjugation of CD3-specific ScFv to “off-the-shelf” RTX using our proprietary MATE™ technology, which maintains RTX native binding to FcRs via the Fc domain and its native binding to CD20 on target cells. KPMW135 retains RTX native ability to target B lymphoid malignancies via Fc effector mechanisms like ADCC and ADCP, but now adds T cell-mediated cytotoxicity. Our in vitro data shows increased target cell killing by KPMW135 compared to RTX, and our in vivo study confirms KPMW135 ability to induce target dependent T cell activation and recruitment, making it superior to unconjugated RTX. CD3 MATEs generated with other Abs show similar increased T cell-mediated cytotoxicity, confirming that this technology can be applied to generate “off-the-shelf” biosuperior antibodies.

Disclosures: Vidal: Kleo Pharmaceuticals: Current Employment, Current equity holder in private company. Cukan: Kleo Pharmaceuticals: Current Employment. Vaill: Kleo Pharmaceuticals: Current Employment. Bunin: Kleo Pharmaceuticals: Current Employment. Rossi: Kleo Pharmaceuticals: Current Employment. Iben: Kleo Pharmaceuticals: Current Employment. Trinh: Kleo Pharmaceuticals: Current Employment. McGrath: Kleo Pharmaceuticals: Current Employment. Berbasova: Kleo Pharmaceuticals: Current Employment. Alvarez: Kleo Pharmaceuticals: Current Employment. Rastelli: Kleo Pharmaceuticals: Current Employment. Welsch: Kleo Pharmaceuticals: Ended employment in the past 24 months.

*signifies non-member of ASH