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1357 CD27 is a new promising T cell co-stimulatory target for the cancer immunotherapy – development and selection of a lead anti-CD27 agonist antibody
  1. Shawn Iadonato,
  2. Yulia Ovechkina,
  3. Kurt Lustig and
  4. Thierry Guillaudeux
  1. Kineta Inc., Seattle, WA, USA


Background Members of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily (TNFRSF) are key co-stimulators of T cells. CD27, a member of the TNFRSF, is expressed only on the surface of lymphocytes, including naive and activated CD4+ and CD8+ T cells as well as NK cells. It enhances T cell activation, proliferation, and differentiation of effector and memory T cells after stimulation with its ligand, CD70. The costimulatory signal of CD27 is mediated via the NFkB pathway but also via the phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase and the protein kinase B pathways. CD27 signaling also influences the innate immune response via direct activation of NK cells and subsequent secretion of interferon-gamma (IFNg). Several published preclinical studies demonstrated that anti-CD27 agonistic monoclonal antibodies can promote T-cell activation and antitumor immunity making CD27 an attractive cancer immunotherapy target.

Methods Here we describe the characterization, preclinical development, and selection of our anti-CD27 fully human monoclonal antibody (mAb) lead candidate. We selected this candidate from a library of 147 anti-CD27 mAbs generated after immunization of humanized Trianni® mice with soluble human CD27 extracellular domain (hCD27-ECD).

Results Anti-CD27 mAbs were tested in an accelerated stability study and showed excellent stability parameters for up to 7 days at 4 and 37°C in commonly used formulation buffers. The selected agonist anti-CD27 mAb demonstrated high affinity binding to both human and cynomolgus monkey CD27 and not to mouse CD27. It also demonstrated high specificity against CD27 with no cross-reactivity detected against other members of the TNFRSF. This lead candidate did not block the binding of CD27 natural ligand, CD70 and induced strong NFkB-mediated CD27 signaling in the absence or presence of cross-linking by Fc gamma receptors or secondary cross-linking antibodies. Moreover, this anti-CD27 mAb mediated NFkB activation is significantly potentiated by the addition of a sub-optimal amount of soluble CD70. The anti-CD27 lead mAb induced T cell proliferation and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines only in the presence of sub-optimal TCR stimulation in vitro using primary human T cells. It also activated NK cells demonstrated by CD69 expression induction. The anti-CD27 mAb lead candidate showed extended serum half-life in hCD27-KI mice. It also demonstrated a significant antitumor effect as a single agent in human CD27-Knockin mice (hCD27-KI) subcutaneously implanted with MC38 or in NOD-SCID mice subcutaneously implanted with Raji.

Conclusions These preclinical results establish that the selected anti-CD27 mAb is a promising drug candidate and we are actively pursuing its development.

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