Introduction: Immunomodulatory chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy directed against B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) has shown promising results for the treatment of relapsed refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM) in several phase 1 clinical studies in patients with advanced disease. Persistence of CAR T cells post infusion may be one determinant of duration of response. bb21217 is a next-generation anti-BCMA CAR T cell therapy based on investigational therapy bb2121 (Friedman 2018, Hum Gene Ther 29:585). It uses the same scFv, 4-1BB costimulatory motif and CD3-zeta T cell activation domain as bb2121 with the addition of phosphoinositide 3 kinase inhibitor bb007 during ex vivo culture to enrich the drug product for T cells displaying a memory-like phenotype. Evidence suggests that CAR T cells with this phenotype may be more persistent and more potent than unselected CAR T cells. CRB-402 is a first-in-human clinical study of bb21217 in patients with RRMM designed to assess the safety, pharmacokinetics, efficacy and duration of effect of bb21217.

Methods: CRB-402 (NCT03274219) is an ongoing, multi-center phase 1 dose escalation trial of bb21217 in approximately 50 patients with RRMM who have received ≥ 3 prior regimens, including a proteasome inhibitor and an immuno-modulatory agent, or are double-refractory. During dose escalation, enrollment is restricted to patients with ≥ 50% BCMA expression by IHC on malignant plasma cells. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells are collected via leukapheresis and sent to a central facility for transduction, expansion and release testing prior to being returned to the site for infusion. Patients undergo lymphodepletion with fludarabine (30 mg/m2) and cyclophosphamide (300 mg/m2) daily for 3 days, then receive bb21217 as a single infusion. Planned dose levels are 150, 450, 800, and 1,200 x 106 CAR+ T cells. The primary outcome measure is incidence of adverse events (AEs), including dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs). Additional outcome measures are quality and duration of clinical response assessed according to the IMWG Uniform Response Criteria for MM, evaluation of minimal residual disease (MRD), progression-free and overall survival, and quantification of CAR+ cells in blood.

Results: Asof June 15, 2018, 8 patients (median age 64 [min;max 54 to 70]) have received bb21217. All patients to date received a dose of 150 x 106 CAR+ T cells. Four had high tumor burden, defined as ≥ 50% bone marrow plasma cells pre-infusion. Patients had a median of 9 (min;max 4 to 17) prior lines of therapy and 7/8 had prior autologous stem cell transplant; 50% had high-risk cytogenetics. Four of 8 (50%) had previously received Bort/Len/Car/Pom/Dara. Median follow-up after bb21217 infusion was 16 weeks (2 to 27 weeks) and 7 patients were evaluable for initial (1-month) clinical response. As of data cut-off, 5 of 8 patients developed cytokine release syndrome (CRS; 1 Grade 1, 3 Grade 2, 1 Grade 3) and responded to supportive care or tocilizumab. This included 1 patient with high tumor burden who experienced DLTs consisting of grade 3 CRS and grade 4 encephalopathy with signs of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome on MRI. This patient received tocilizumab, corticosteroids and cyclophosphamide, improved neurologically and achieved a sCR. Following this event, the dose escalation cohort was divided into two groups based on tumor burden and dosing continued at 150x106 CAR+ T cells. No deaths occurred. With 1 to 6 months since treatment, 6 of 7 patients had demonstrated clinical response per IMWG criteria: currently 1 sCR, 3 VGPR, 2 PR. MRD negative results at 10-5 nucleated cells were obtained by next-generation sequencing in 3 of 3 evaluable responders. Robust CAR+ T cell expansion during the first 30 days was observed in 7 of 7 evaluable patients. Two of 2 patients evaluable at 6 months had detectable CAR vector copies.

Conclusions: Early efficacy results with bb21217 CAR T therapy in RRMM at a dose of 150 x 106 CAR+ T cells are encouraging, with 6 of 7 patients demonstrating clinical responses. The adverse events observed to date are consistent with known toxicities of CAR T therapies. CAR+ T cells were measurable at 6 months post treatment in both evaluable patients. Enrollment in the study is ongoing; longer follow-up and data in more patients will establish whether treatment with bb21217 results in sustained CAR+ T cell persistence and responses.


Shah:Kite: Consultancy; Indapta Therapeutics: Consultancy; University of California San Francisco: Employment; Nekktar: Consultancy; Teneobio: Consultancy; Sanofi: Consultancy; Janssen: Research Funding; Indapta Therapeutics: Equity Ownership; Amgen: Consultancy; Bluebird: Research Funding; Celgene: Research Funding; Bristol Myers Squibb: Consultancy; Takeda: Consultancy; Sutro Biopharma: Research Funding; Nkarta: Consultancy. Siegel:Takeda: Consultancy, Honoraria, Speakers Bureau; Novartis: Honoraria, Speakers Bureau; Karyopharm: Consultancy, Honoraria; Celgene: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Amgen: Consultancy, Honoraria, Speakers Bureau; BMS: Consultancy, Honoraria, Speakers Bureau; Merck: Consultancy, Honoraria, Speakers Bureau; Janssen: Consultancy, Honoraria, Speakers Bureau. Jagannath:Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation: Speakers Bureau; Merck: Consultancy; Novartis: Consultancy; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy; Celgene: Consultancy; Medicom: Speakers Bureau. Kaufman:Karyopharm: Other: data monitoring committee; BMS: Consultancy; Janssen: Consultancy; Abbvie: Consultancy; Roche: Consultancy. Turka:bluebird bio, Inc: Employment, Equity Ownership. Lam:bluebird bio, Inc: Employment, Equity Ownership. Massaro:bluebird bio, Inc: Employment, Equity Ownership. Hege:Celgene Corporation: Employment, Equity Ownership, Patents & Royalties: multiple; Mersana: Equity Ownership, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; SITC: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Arcus Biosicences: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Petrocca:bluebird bio, Inc: Employment, Equity Ownership. Berdeja:Glenmark: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding; Genentech: Research Funding; Janssen: Research Funding; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Research Funding; Bluebird: Research Funding; Amgen: Research Funding; Celgene: Research Funding; Poseida Therapeutics, Inc.: Research Funding; Takeda: Research Funding; Teva: Research Funding; Sanofi: Research Funding. Raje:AstraZeneca: Research Funding; Takeda: Consultancy; Merck: Consultancy; Janssen: Consultancy; Celgene: Consultancy; BMS: Consultancy; Amgen Inc.: Consultancy; Research to Practice: Honoraria; Medscape: Honoraria.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

This icon denotes a clinically relevant abstract

Sign in via your Institution