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856 SNS-101, a highly pH-selective VISTA:PSGL-1 inhibitory antibody, potentiates anti-PD-1 sensitivity, expands memory T-cells and enhances tumor infiltration of CD8 T-cells
  1. Thomas Thisted,
  2. Tim Eitas,
  3. Kanam Malhotra,
  4. Yuliya Kleschenko,
  5. Faith Finley,
  6. Zhi-Gang Jiang,
  7. Arnab Mukherjee,
  8. Zuzana Biesova,
  9. Anokhi Cifuentes,
  10. Robert Pierce and
  11. Edward van der Horst
  1. Sensei Biotherapeutics, Boston, MA, United States


Background VISTA (V-domain Ig suppressor of T-cell activation) is a negative checkpoint regulator (NCR), highly expressed on myeloid cells.1 PSGL-1 on T-cells has been identified as a novel NCR that limits survival and promotes T-cell exhaustion.2 Recently, VISTA was reported to bind PSGL-1 and suppress T-cell activity exclusively under acidic conditions (~pH 6 in lymph nodes or the tumor microenvironment).3, 4 Although VISTA inhibition demonstrated excellent therapeutic combinability with other modalities targeting NCRs (e.g. CTLA-4, PD-1/PD-L1),5 clinical development of anti-VISTA antibodies has been challenging due to: 1) high clearance via target-mediated drug disposition (TMDD) by VISTA+ neutrophils and monocytes at physiologic pH; and 2) cellular activation and cytokine release syndrome (CRS) at sub-therapeutic doses by engagement of VISTA in the blood.6

We developed SNS-101, a human monoclonal IgG1 antibody specific for the protonated, active form of VISTA, which is designed to disrupt the immunosuppressive VISTA:PSGL-1 interaction, avoid TMDD and mitigate potential CRS.

Methods The binding potential of SNS-101 to VISTA+ cells was determined in human and non-human primate (NHP) whole-blood by flow cytometry. The effect of SNS-101 on human monocytes and T-cells was evaluated in vivo in human CD34+ cord blood cell reconstituted BRGSF mice, which develop both human lymphoid and myeloid compartments. The pharmacokinetic (PK) profile was assessed in NHPs. Anti-tumor efficacy was assessed in VISTA-KI mice implanted with the syngeneic tumor model, MC38, and tumor-infiltrating T-cells were analyzed by flow cytometry.

Results SNS-101 did not bind to human or NHP VISTA+ monocytes, neutrophils and natural killer cells. In humanized BRGSF mice, SNS-101 induced significant expansion of CD4 and CD8 central memory (CCR7+CD45RA-), and naïve (CCR7+CD45RA+) CD8 T-cells, respectively, but had no significant impact on monocyte activation. PK studies in NHPs showed linear elimination kinetics. Conversely, a non-pH-sensitive antibody bound VISTA+immune cells, induced monocyte activation followed by a decrease in cell numbers and was rapidly cleared in NHPs. Anti-tumor efficacy studies in MC-38 demonstrate that SNS-101 enhanced anti-PD-1 response and dose-dependently increased tumor-infiltrating CD8 T-cells.

Conclusions Our results demonstrate that SNS-101 exhibits linear elimination kinetics in NHPs, overcoming TMDD-induced PK limitations observed with other anti-VISTA antibodies. Importantly, SNS-101 induced expansion of naïve and memory T-cell phenotypes in vivo without activation or depletion of monocytes, differentiating it from non-pH-selective VISTA antibodies. In the MC-38 syngeneic tumor model, SNS-101 demonstrated significant enhancement of anti-tumor effects in combination with anti-PD-1 antibodies through an increase in CD8+ T-cells.


  1. Yuan L, Tatineni J, Mahoney KM, et al. VISTA: a mediator of quiescence and a promising target in cancer immunotherapy. Trends Immunol. 2021; 42:209–227.

  2. Tinoco R, Carrette F, Barraza ML, et al. PSGL-1 is an immune checkpoint regulator that promotes T cell exhaustion. Immunity. 2016; 44:1190–1203.

  3. Johnston RJ, Su LJ, Pinckney J, et al. VISTA is an acidic pH-selective ligand for PSGL-1. Nature 2019; 574:565–570.

  4. Wu H, Estrella V, Beatty M, et al. T-cells produce acidic niches in lymph nodes to suppress their own effector functions. Nat Commun. 2020; 11:4113.

  5. Gao J, Ward JF, Pettaway CA, et al. VISTA is an inhibitory immune checkpoint that is increased after ipilimumab therapy in patients with prostate cancer. Nat. Med. 2017; 23:551–555.

  6. Curis Corporate Presentation Jan 2022 []

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