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Characterization of the first-in-class T-cell-engaging bispecific single-chain antibody for targeted immunotherapy of solid tumors expressing the oncofetal protein claudin 6

Stadler, C.R., Bähr-Mahmud, H., Plum, L.M., et al.

The fetal tight junction molecule claudin 6 (CLDN6) is virtually absent from any normal tissue, whereas it is aberrantly and frequently expressed in various cancers of high medical need.

We engineered 6PHU3, a T-cell-engaging bispecific single chain molecule (bi-(scFv)2) with anti-CD3/anti-CLDN6 specificities, and characterized its pharmacodynamic properties.

Our data show that upon engagement by 6PHU3, T cells strongly upregulate cytotoxicity and activation markers, proliferate and acquire an effector phenotype. 6PHU3 exerts potent killing of cancer cells in vitro with EC50 values in the pg/mL range. Subcutaneous xenograft tumors in NSG mice engrafted with human PBMCs are eradicated by 6PHU3 treatment and survival of mice is significantly prolonged. Tumors of 6PHU3-treated mice are strongly infiltrated with activated CD4+, CD8+ T cells and TEM type cells but not Tregs and display a general activation of a mostly inflammatory phenotype.

These effects are only observed upon bispecific but not monospecific engagement of 6PHU3. Together with the exceptionally cancer cell selective expression of the oncofetal tumor marker CLDN6, this provides a safeguard with regard to toxicity.

In summary, our data shows that the concept of T-cell redirection combined with that of highly selective targeting of CLDN6-positive solid tumors is effective. Thus, exploring 6PHU3 for clinical therapy is warranted.

Citation

Stadler, C.R., Bähr-Mahmud, H., Plum, L.M., et al. "Characterization of the first-in-class T-cell-engaging bispecific single-chain antibody for targeted immunotherapy of solid tumors expressing the oncofetal protein claudin 6" Oncoimmunology (2016): e1091555