Abstract

Human interleukin-3 receptor alpha (IL-3Ra, CD123), which promotes the proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic cells, is highly expressed in myeloid malignancies, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

We newly generated KHK2823, a non-fucosylated fully human IgG1 monoclonal antibody against human IL-3Ra, by utilizing the POTELLIGENT® technology. Here, we describe the in vitro and in vivo preclinical efficacy and safety of KHK2823, as well as its pharmacodynamic (PD) profile.

At first, we explored that KHK2823 bound to various hematological malignant cells and leukemic stem cells. The cells from AML and MDS bone marrows were found to be bound by KHK2823. A significant part of bone marrow cells derived from B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) patients was also bound by KHK2823.

KHK2823 bound to soluble human IL-3Ra protein with a sub-nanomolar dissociation constant (KD), and recognized CD34+ CD38+ (leukemic blast) and/or CD34+ CD38- (leukemic stem cell) cells in patients with AML/MDS, as well as AML cell lines, thereby obtaining a high antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxic activity without complement-dependent cytotoxicity. Interestingly, KHK2823 did not interfere with the binding of IL-3 to IL-3R. The lack of a receptor-ligand interaction may conserve the IL-3 signal, which plays an important role in normal hematopoiesis. In a tumor model xenografting the human AML cell line MOLM-13 on nude rats, KHK2823 significantly suppressed the tumor growth at doses of 0.1 and 1 mg/kg (Figure 1).

The PD and toxicity profiles of KHK2823 were assessed in cynomolgus monkeys administered at doses ranging from 0.1 to 100 mg/kg by i.v. infusion, once weekly for 4 weeks. KHK2823 was generally well tolerated in monkeys, even at 100 mg/kg. The number of IL-3Ra-positive cells in the peripheral blood of cynomolgus monkeys decreased in all groups receiving KHK2823, which suggest KHK2823 could exert its depletion activity of IL-3Ra-positive cells in human (Figure 2). Currently, the safety and tolerability of KHK2823 is being investigated in patients with AML or MDS in a Phase 1 study (NCT02181699, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02181699). This is the first non-randomized, open-label, dose escalation clinical study to investigate the safety, PK, immunogenicity and PD of repeated doses of KHK2823.

In summary, KHK2823 was confirmed to bind to AML, MDS and B-ALL cells as the IL-3Ra in accordance with other publications. KHK2823 was also found to eliminate AML cells in vitro and also suppressed the AML tumor growth in the in vivo model. In addition, the number of IL-3Ra-positive cells in cynomolgus monkeys decreased following i.v. infusion of 0.1mg/kg KHK2823 with a tolerable safety profile, even at a dose of 100 mg/kg. Taken together, KHK2823 may therefore be a promising anti-IL-3Ra therapeutic drug for the treatment of AML.

Figure 1.

Antitumor activity of KHK2823 in a tumor xenograft nude rat model

Figure 1.

Antitumor activity of KHK2823 in a tumor xenograft nude rat model

Figure 2.

PD profile of KHK2823 in cynomolgus monkeys

Figure 2.

PD profile of KHK2823 in cynomolgus monkeys

Disclosures

Akiyama:Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd.: Employment. Takayanagi:Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd.: Employment. Maekawa:Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd.: Employment. Shimabe:Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd.: Employment. Nishikawa:Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd.: Employment. Yamawaki:Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd: Employment. Iijima:Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd: Employment. Hiura:Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd.: Employment. Takahashi:Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd.: Employment. Akashi:Asahi Kasei: Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Chugai: Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Novartis Pharma K.K.: Consultancy, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd.: Consultancy, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Celgene: Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Shionogi: Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Astellas: Research Funding, Speakers Bureau. Tawara:Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd: Employment.

Author notes

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Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.