Background V-domain Immunoglobulin Suppressor of T cell Activation (VISTA/PD-1H) is a B7 family ligand expressed on circulating and intratumoural myeloid cells as well as Treg and NK cells. It has been shown to inhibit T cell responses in vitro and in preclinical models. In patients, VISTA is also a potential mediator of resistance to anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD1 therapies and therefore is a valuable new target for cancer immunotherapy.
Methods Kineta has analyzed 107 fully human ScFv antibodies directed against VISTA.
Results Our lead candidates exhibit high potencies in the subnanomolar range and are also characterized by a long kDis. They specifically target human and cynomolgus monkey VISTA on a singular unique epitope. In a Staphylococcus Enterotoxin B T-cell activation assay, Kineta’s anti-VISTA antibodies efficiently induce IFNg secretion. They also promote strong maturation of Antigen Presenting Cells with an increase of CD80 and HLA-DR surface expression as well as CXCL10 secretion. The mechanism of action is mediated in part by NK cells. We demonstrated that myeloid cells acquire a high level of VISTA expression during MDSC or M2 differentiation in vitro and that Kineta’s anti-VISTA antibodies prevent the differentiation of MDSC as well as their immunosuppressive activity against T cells. Anti-VISTA antibodies mediate single-agent antitumor effects in syngeneic tumor models in wild-type mice and show enhanced activity in combination with anti-PD1 and anti-CTLA-4 treatment. Candidate anti-VISTA antibodies have also been evaluated in exploratory tolerability and PK studies in cynomolgus monkey. These studies demonstrated that multiple weekly doses of antibodies are well-tolerated with appropriate PK for lead selection and optimization.
Conclusions Our results strongly favor further characterization and continued development of selected lead antibodies for the potential treatment of colder, less immunogenic tumors.
Ethics Approval Study approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee PHS Assurance # D16-00885 and D16-00114
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