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2869 FLT3-CD3 Bispecific Antibody Specifically Eliminates Normal Hematopoietic Progenitors and AML in Humanized Mouse Models

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 616. Acute Myeloid Leukemia: Novel Therapy, excluding Transplantation: Poster III
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
AML, Biological, antibodies, Diseases, bone marrow, Therapies, immunotherapy, Myeloid Malignancies, transplantation
Monday, December 7, 2020, 7:00 AM-3:30 PM

Carina Sirochinsky, BA1*, Raymond Liang, PhD1*, Elina Shrestha, PhD1*, Ronen Ben Jehuda, PhD1* and Vladislav Sandler, PhD1,2

1Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals LLC, Brooklyn, NY
2Department of Cell Biology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a blood cancer arising from clonal proliferation of myeloid progenitors harboring oncogenic mutations. AML patients have poor clinical prognosis and limited therapeutic options, with myeloablation followed by hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) as the only curative treatment. The conditioning regimens used indiscriminately kill all highly proliferative cell types, leading to life threatening side effects, and are also potentially ineffective against quiescent AML subpopulations. To address the challenges of efficacy and resistance in targeting AML, we developed a humanized bispecific antibody (CDX) that recruits T cells through CD3 to target and kill Fms-like Tyrosine Kinase 3 (FLT3) expressing cells. Normal FLT3 expression is mostly restricted to hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) and its activation, through binding of FLT3 ligand (FLT3L), promotes normal differentiation of downstream blood lineages. FLT3 is also expressed on AML blasts in a majority of patients and is thought to promote survival and proliferation of AML. Although multiple promising tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have been and are being developed to specifically target FLT3, secondary mutations leading to resistance against FLT3-TKIs remain a major obstacle. Surface expression of FLT3 in leukemic cells, as well as in HSCs, makes it an excellent target for T cell mediated conditioning that specifically eliminates both AML blasts and HSPCs, allowing for subsequent HSCT. In addition, HDX mass spectrometry revealed that our CDX binds an extracellular, membrane proximal FLT3 domain, which does not compete with FLT3L and is outside the regions commonly mutated in AML, therefore, unlike other therapies, targets all FLT3-expressing cells, regardless of mutations in the receptor.

We found that in vitro treatment with CDX redirected primary human T cells to kill multiple AML-derived FLT3+ cell lines, some harboring common FLT3 mutations, at EC50 ranging from 0.3 pM to 15 pM. Additionally, the presence of FLT3L (10 nM) had no effect on the EC50 of CDX binding to FLT3+ target cells. To test CDX in vivo, we generated xenograft mice engrafted with primary human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and MV4;11 cells (FLT3+ AML cell line), which were engineered to stably express EGFP. Mice were treated intravenously with 3 doses of CDX at a concentration of 0.1 mg/kg or left untreated over 1 week (n=5). Progression of AML was tracked by monitoring the frequency of EGFP-MV4;11 cells in peripheral blood (PB) of xenografted mice, which were euthanized if they presented with cachexia, hind-leg paralysis, and severe weight loss (symptoms of AML progression). Treatment with CDX significantly delayed the proliferation of MV4;11 cells, based on lower PB frequencies of EGFP-MV4;11, and increased median survival by 28 days relative to untreated mice. To more stringently model CDX efficacy in a clinical setting, we injected EGFP-MV4;11 cells into humanized mice that were generated by transplantation of human cord blood derived, CD34+ HSPCs and displayed stable multi-lineage engraftment (~20% human CD45+) with significant populations of T cells at 35 weeks. We observed that T cells in CDX-treated mice over-expressed the immune checkpoint receptor PD1, relative to untreated mice, and hypothesized that PD1 inhibition could enhance MV4;11 clearance via CDX treatment by preventing T cell exhaustion. Treatment regimens consisted of 3 doses of CDX (0.1 mg/kg), anti-PD1 antibody (100 μg), or a combination of CDX and anti-PD1 (n=5), followed by transplant with autologous mouse bone marrow cells. Treatment with CDX alone led to decreased PB frequencies of EGFP-MV4;11 cells, but only modestly improved median survival relative to anti-PD1 alone (9 days). In contrast, co-treatment with CDX and anti-PD1 antibody significantly increased median survival (16 days) and was associated with decreased PD1 expression on T cells. In addition, administration of CDX alone or in combination with PD1 in humanized mice resulted in efficient elimination of the human hematopoietic compartment from the mouse bone marrow. Based on our findings, CDX shows promise for treatment of AML with concurrent conditioning for HSCT with improved specificity compared to standard of care and even displays synergy with checkpoint inhibition of PD1.

Disclosures: Sirochinsky: Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals LLC: Current Employment. Liang: Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals LLC: Current Employment. Shrestha: Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals LLC: Current Employment. Ben Jehuda: Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals LLC: Current Employment. Sandler: Hemogenyx Pharmaceuticals LLC: Current Employment, Current equity holder in publicly-traded company.

*signifies non-member of ASH