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793 Targeting engineered interleukin-2 (IL-2) to antigen specific T cells via novel biologic platforms
  1. Raymond Moniz,
  2. Ahmet Vakkasoglu,
  3. Zohra Merazga,
  4. Tina Daigneault,
  5. Steve Quayle,
  6. Natasha Girgis,
  7. Ronald Seidel,
  8. John Ross,
  9. Simon Low and
  10. Anish Suri
  1. Cue BioPharma, Cambridge, MA, United States


Background A key challenge with IL-2 immunotherapy for cancers is lack of selectivity for anti-tumor immune cells and safety liabilities related to indiscriminate activation of immune cells. The CUE-100 series of Immuno-STATs (ISTs) are designed to selectively activate tumor-specific T cells while avoiding IL-2 toxicities due to systemic activation. CUE-100 series ISTs are rationally engineered Fc fusion proteins comprised of bivalent tumor-peptide-HLA (pHLA) complexes and four affinity-attenuated IL-2 molecules to preferentially engage and activate tumor-specific T cells directly in the patient. Emerging clinical data from our lead candidate CUE-101, which targets HPV-specific T cells in 2L+ R/M HNSCCC, provides PoC for the approach and builds confidence for broad applications in numerous cancers. Building on the CUE-100 series framework, our Neo-STAT (NST) platform contains HLA molecules manufactured with an “empty” peptide-binding pocket, into which diverse tumor-peptides can be chemically conjugated, hence addressing tumor heterogeneity in a cost- and time-efficient manner. Our RDI-STAT (Re-Directed Immuno-STAT) platform further expands the CUE-100 series by redirecting the pre-existing protective viral-specific T cell repertoire to target tumor cells via scFv moieties. RDI-STATs are designed to circumvent potential tumor escape mechanisms linked to HLA loss or defects in antigen-presenting pathways. We present here preclinical data supporting the mechanism of action of these platforms to enhance anti-tumor immune responses.

Methods NSTs were engineered with “empty” HLA-A*0201, into which relevant antigenic peptides were conjugated, and assessed for capacity to expand T cells. RDI-STATs were engineered with TAA-specific scFv and viral-specific pHLA complexes, and assessed for their capacity to induce redirected killing of tumor cells while avoiding systemic activation of all T cells.

Results The NST platform demonstrated that different T cell epitopes can be efficiently conjugated into the HLA-binding pocket, and that these molecules activate and expand antigen specific T cells in vitro. RDI-STATs were able to expand anti-viral T cell repertoires and drive anti-viral T cell redirected killing of TAA-expressing cells. In contrast to pan anti-CD3 bispecific molecules, RDI-STATs demonstrated significantly lower induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Conclusions The IST, NST, and RDI-STAT platforms provide novel opportunities for selective targeting of IL-2 to tumor-relevant T cells while avoiding global immune activation and cytokine release. The scalability and versatility of NSTs highlight the potential to target multiple TAA T cell responses, while RDI-STATs highlight a novel means to harness antiviral immunity against cancer, especially in cases where the tumor may escape immune detection due to loss of HLA.

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