P-BCMA-101 is a novel chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapeutic targeting BCMA, which is highly expressed on MM cells. It is designed to increase efficacy while minimizing toxicity through reduced immunogenicity, lack of tonic signaling, a safety switch, and a product comprised predominantly of early memory T cells that are effectively all CAR-positive. Rather than using a traditional antibody-based binder, P-BCMA-101 utilizes an anti-BCMA Centyrin™ fused to a CD3ζ/4-1BB signaling domain. Centyrins are fully human and have high binding affinities, but are smaller, more stable and potentially less immunogenic. P-BCMA-101 is produced using the piggyBac™ (PB) DNA Modification System instead of a viral vector, and requires only plasmid DNA and mRNA. This eliminates the need for virus, is less costly, and produces a purified population of CAR+ cells with a preponderance of the favorable stem cell memory T phenotype (TSCM). The higher cargo capacity permits the incorporation of other genes, a safety switch that allows for rapid depletion of product in vivo if indicated by adverse events, and a selection gene that allows for enrichment of CAR+ cells. These features are predicted to result in a greater therapeutic index. Efficacy of P-BCMA-101 in NSG mice bearing aggressive human MM.1S and p53 -/- MM.1S MM was reported (Hermanson, AACR 2016). Whereas control animals died early, tumor burden was reduced to the limit of detection after P-BCMA-101 treatment, and recurrences were spontaneously re-controlled without re-administration of product.

A Phase 1, 3+3 dose escalation trial is being conducted in patients with r/r MM (≥ 3 prior lines, including a proteasome inhibitor and an IMiD, or double refractory) to assess the safety and efficacy of P-BCMA-101 (NCT03288493). No pre-specified level of BCMA expression was required. Patients are apheresed to harvest T cells, P-BCMA-101 is then manufactured and administered to patients as a single intravenous (IV) dose after a standard 3-day cyclophosphamide (300 mg/m2/day) / fludarabine (30 mg/m2/day) conditioning regimen.

As of 31Jul18, 12 patients have been treated with 48, 50, 55, 118, 122, 124, 143, 155, 164, 238, 324 and 430 x 106 P-BCMA-101 CAR-T cells in 3 weight-based cohorts. Patients were heavily pre-treated (3-9 prior therapies), 100% had failed IMiDs, proteasome inhibitors and daratumumab, and 64% had high-risk cytogenetics. Nine patients have yet reached their first 2-week response assessment. All patients have shown some improvement in myeloma assessments on study, yet only 1 patient (8%) has developed any cytokine release syndrome (CRS) (limited Grade 2). Of 3 patients in the first cohort 1 attained a PR and 1 with non-secretory disease near CR of her plasmacytomas on PET/CT. Of the subsequent 6 patients, 3 patients have thus far reached a PR, 1 a VGPR, and 1 a sCR. Thus of the yet evaluable patients treated above Cohort 1, the overall response rate (ORR) is 83% (5/6), in spite of only one experiencing CRS. This CRS was scored as Grade 2, based on short-lived fever and hypotension managed with IV fluids and antibiotics, with minimal CRS marker elevations. Likewise, CRS markers were minimally elevated in other patients. The maximal IL-6 level in any patient was 86 pg/mL, which is orders of magnitude lower than levels generally reported in patients experiencing meaningful CRS after treatment with CAR-T products. No patients required treatment with tocilizumab or safety switch activation. There have been no patient deaths, and no neurotoxicity, DLTs or unexpected/off-target toxicities related to treatment. Generally, infusions were well-tolerated, with cytopenias, including transfusion requiring cytopenias and febrile neutropenia, being the most common Grade 3+ adverse events. Consistent with the hypothesis of the early memory phenotype conveying durability, circulating P-BCMA-101 cells were detected in the blood by flow and PCR, peaking at 2-3 weeks, and remaining detectable at the last timepoint tested in all patients (3 patients thus far assessed at 3 months).

In conclusion, current clinical trial data in patients with r/r MM support preclinical findings that the novel design of P-BCMA-101 can produce significant efficacy, comparing favorably with other anti-BCMA CAR-T products at similar doses, with notably less CRS and no neurotoxicity, consistent with the hypothesis of an improved therapeutic index.

Funding by Poseida Therapeutics and CIRM.


Gregory:Poseida Therapeutics, Inc.: Research Funding. Cohen:Seattle Genetics: Consultancy; Kite Pharma: Consultancy; Oncopeptides: Consultancy; Poseida Therapeutics, Inc.: Research Funding; GlaxoSmithKline: Consultancy, Research Funding; Bristol Meyers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; Celgene: Consultancy; Janssen: Consultancy; Novartis: Research Funding. Costello:Celgene: Consultancy; Poseida Therapeutics, Inc.: Research Funding; Takeda: Consultancy. Ali:Celgene Inc: Research Funding; Aduro Biotech: Consultancy, Research Funding; Amgen Inc: Consultancy; Juno: Consultancy; Takeda Oncology: Consultancy; Poseida Therapeutics: Research Funding. Berdeja:Genentech: Research Funding; Bluebird: Research Funding; Glenmark: Research Funding; Celgene: Research Funding; Takeda: Research Funding; Teva: Research Funding; Janssen: Research Funding; Sanofi: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding; Poseida Therapeutics, Inc.: Research Funding; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Research Funding; Amgen: Research Funding. Ostertag:Poseida Therapeutics, Inc.: Employment, Equity Ownership. Martin:Poseida Therapeutics, Inc.: Employment, Equity Ownership. Shedlock:Poseida Therapeutics, Inc.: Employment, Equity Ownership. Resler:Poseida Therapeutics, Inc.: Employment, Equity Ownership. Spear:Poseida Therapeutics, Inc.: Employment, Equity Ownership. Orlowski:Millenium Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy, Research Funding; Poseida: Research Funding; BioTheryX, Inc: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Bristol Myers Squibb: Consultancy; Genentech: Consultancy; Janssen Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Celgene: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Amgen: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding. Patel:Poseida Therapeutics, Inc.: Research Funding; Takeda: Research Funding; Abbvie: Research Funding; Celgene: Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.