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1431 Preclinical Characterization of the Anti-Leukemia Activity of the CD33/CD16/NKG2D Immune Modulating TriNKET® BMS-986357 (CC-96191)

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 604. Molecular Pharmacology and Drug Resistance: Myeloid Neoplasms: Poster I
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Research, Acute Myeloid Malignancies, AML, Biological therapies, Translational Research, Bispecific Antibody Therapy, drug development, Diseases, Therapies, Immunotherapy, Myeloid Malignancies, Natural Killer (NK) Cell Therapies
Saturday, December 9, 2023, 5:30 PM-7:30 PM

Margaret C. Lunn1*, George S. Laszlo, PhD1*, Sarah Eraiss1*, Mark T. Orr, PhD2*, Heidi K. Jessup2*, Henry Chan, PhD3*, Heather J. Thomas2*, Ann F. Cheung, PhD4*, Gregory P. Chang4*, Asya Grinberg, PhD4*, Eduardo Rodríguez-Arbolí, MD1*, Sheryl Y. T. Lim, DPhil1*, Allie R. Kehret1*, Jenny Huo1*, Frances M. Cole1*, Samuel C. Scharffenberger1* and Roland B. Walter, MD, PhD, MS1,5,6

1Translational Science and Therapeutics Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Seattle, WA
2Bristol Myers Squibb, Inc, Seattle, WA
3Bristol Myers Squibb, Inc, San Diego, CA
4Dragonfly Therapeutics, Inc, Waltham, MA
5Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
6Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

CD33 is widely expressed by myeloid cells and is a validated drug target in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), as shown by the benefit of some patients from the CD33 antibody-drug conjugate gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO). However, GO is often ineffective and toxic, prompting interest in more potent CD33-directed therapies. Success of T cell-engaging bispecific antibodies in lymphoid malignancies has raised enthusiasm for similar agents targeting CD33, but toxicities from activated T cells cause significant challenges for their use and provide a strong rationale to explore drugs engaging natural killer (NK) cells. Here, we investigated BMS-986357, a TriNKET® that activates NK cells via CD16 and NKG2D receptors while targeting CD33. This format was chosen because simultaneous engagement of multiple activating NK cell receptors yields greater cytotoxic activity against neoplastic cells than engagement via a single activating receptor. Surface plasmon resonance analyses showed BMS-986357 simultaneously binds CD33, NKG2D, and CD16a, and co-engagement of NKG2D and CD16a increases the avidity. In the presence of primary human NK cells from healthy donors or a human NK cell line, the TriNKET® demonstrated broad cytolytic anti-leukemia activity in a strictly CD33-dependent manner using a panel of CD33-expressing or CD33-deficient/deleted acute leukemia cells. Consistent with this, removing the CD33 binding domain rendered BMS-986357 ineffective against CD33+ AML cells. Drug-induced cytotoxicity was greater with BMS-986357 than with monoclonal CD33 antibodies, including lintuzumab and an afucosylated antibody with enhanced NK function, demonstrating the benefit of the TriNKET® format. Compared to BMS-986357, substantially less cytotoxicity was observed with an Fc-mutant variant of BMS-986357 that abrogates binding to CD16a or an NKG2D dead-arm TriNKET®, and cytolytic effects were reduced with a CD16-deficient NK cell line vs. a CD16-expressing subline, indicating maximal efficacy of BMS-986357 required co-engagement of CD16a and NKG2D. Using sublines of OCI-AML3 and KG-1 cells (both cell lines with low endogenous CD33 expression) to overexpress wild-type CD33 at increasing levels, we found low abundance of CD33 curtailed BMS-986357-induced cytotoxicity. Flow cytometric binding studies identified BMS-986357 to recognize the membrane-distal V-set domain of CD33. Unlike GO, BMS-986357-mediated cytolysis was not affected by over-expression of ABC transporter proteins by AML cells. The potency but not maximal activity of BMS-986357 was reduced by super-physiologic concentrations of soluble CD33; in contrast, the soluble form of the NKG2D ligand MICA did not impact TriNKET® activity. In the presence of CD33+ AML cells, BMS-986357 activated NK cells but not T cells from healthy donor peripheral blood mononuclear cells and produced similar levels of maximum cytolysis as a CD33/CD3 bispecific antibody. Despite this, BMS-986357 elicited 10 to >100-fold lower soluble cytokine levels including IFN-γ, TNF, IL-6, and GM-CSF than a CD33/CD3 bispecific antibody, suggesting BMS-986357 has the potential for CD33/CD3 bispecific-like efficacy without the associated risk of cytokine release syndrome. Finally, in bone marrow specimens from patients with AML, BMS-986357 killed AML cells but not normal monocytes, suggesting selectivity of drug-induced cytotoxicity toward neoplastic cells, consistent with the notion NK cells are capable to differentiate between healthy and leukemic CD33+ cells. This selectivity suggests BMS-986357 may produce less myelosuppressive toxicity than what has been observed with CD33 targeting antibody-drug conjugates. In summary, our findings demonstrate that BMS-986357 TriNKET® has potent CD33-dependent cytolytic activity in vitro against human AML cells, supporting the drug’s exploration in early phase clinical trials. One such trial (NCT04789655) has opened accrual for adults with relapsed/refractory AML.

Disclosures: Orr: Bristol Myers Squibb: Current Employment. Jessup: Bristol Myers Squibb: Ended employment in the past 24 months. Chan: Bristol Myers Squibb: Current Employment. Thomas: Bristol Myers Squibb: Current Employment. Cheung: Dragonfly Therapeutics: Current Employment. Chang: Dragonfly Therapeutics: Current Employment. Grinberg: Dragonfly Therapeutics: Current Employment. Walter: Abbvie, Adicet, Amphivena, BerGenBio, Bristol Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Orum: Consultancy; ImmunoGen, Jura: Consultancy, Research Funding; Amgen, Aptevo, Celgene, Janssen, Jazz, MacroGenics, Pfizer: Research Funding.

*signifies non-member of ASH