Development of CDX-527: a bispecific antibody combining PD-1 blockade and CD27 costimulation for cancer immunotherapy
Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy
CD27 is a costimulatory molecule that provides a complementary target to the PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint axis on T cells. Combining a CD27 agonist antibody with PD-1/PD-L1 blockade has shown synergistic antitumor activity in preclinical models, which led to clinical studies of the combination in cancer patients. We theorized that coupling CD27 costimulation with PD-1/PD-L1 blockade in a bispecific antibody (BsAb) may provide greater immune activating properties than combining the individual mAbs due
... o enhanced CD27 activation by cross-linking through PD-L1 and Fc receptors. To test this approach, we developed CDX-527, a tetravalent PD-L1xCD27 IgG1-scFv BsAb. CDX-527 potently inhibits PD-1 signaling and induces CD27-mediated T cell costimulation through PD-L1 cross-linking. In mixed lymphocyte reaction assays, CDX-527 is more potent than the combination of the parental antibodies, suggesting that cross-linking through both Fc receptors and PD-L1 results in enhanced CD27 agonist activity. CDX-527 was shown to mediate effector function against tumor cells overexpressing either CD27 or PD-L1. In human CD27 transgenic mice, we observed that antigen-specific T cell responses to a vaccine are greatly enhanced with a surrogate PD-L1xCD27 BsAb. Furthermore, the BsAb exhibits greater antitumor activity than the combination of the parental antibodies in a syngeneic lymphoma model. A pilot study of CDX-527 in cynomolgus macaques confirmed a mAb-like pharmacokinetic profile without noted toxicities. These studies demonstrate that CDX-527 effectively combines PD-1 blockade and CD27 costimulation into one molecule that is more potent than combination of the parental antibodies providing the rationale to advance this BsAb toward clinical studies in cancer patients.