AMG 701 is a half-life extended BiTE® (bispecific T-cell engager) targeting the B cell maturation antigen (BCMA). Here, we confirmed AMG 701-mediated T cell-redirected lysis of MM cells, defined immunomodulatory effects of AMG 701, and investigated combination potential of AMG 701 with immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) in human MM. Firstly, AMG 701 induced specific and efficacious T cell-dependent cytotoxicity (TDCC) against all MM cell lines tested, regardless of sensitivity to current anti-MM agents and expression levels of BCMA. AMG 701-induced TDCC was minimally affected in the presence of myeloma-supporting cells and cytokines in the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment, including osteoclasts (OCs), BM stromal cells (BMSCs), and a proliferation-inducing ligand (100 ng/ml). Importantly, AMG 701 induced lysis of autologous patient cells from the relapse and refractory stage of MM (RRMM). AMG 701 rapidly upregulated cell surface expression of CD107a and the production of IFNγ and TNFα, more so in CD8 than CD4 T subsets. It stimulated the proliferation and activation of T cells, to a greater extent in CD8 vs CD4 T cells, leading to significantly increased ratios of CD8/CD4 T cells. Significantly, AMG 701 induced differentiation of naive T cells (CD4 and CD8) to T cells with memory phenotype. This includes central memory (CM), effector memory (EM) T cells, and stem cell like memory cells. Time-course immunophenotyping studies showed that AMG 701 transiently upregulated the expression of key immune checkpoint and costimulatory markers on both CD4 and CD8 T cells. The induced T cells purified from ex vivo co-cultures still effectively lysed MM cells with lower BCMA levels. This may suggest an increased T cell clonality. Furthermore, IMiDs (len or pom) enhanced AMG 701-mediated TDCC against MM cells at earlier time points, lower E/T ratios, lower concentrations, or in the presence of immunosuppressive OCs or BMSCs. The combination AMG 701 and IMiDs maximized MM cell lysis accompanied with a decreased EC50 value. Combined treatments induce a more pronounced immunomodulation than AMG 701 alone in the presence of OCs, as evidenced by higher percentage of CM+EM and CD8/CD4 ratio at d8. AMG 701 with IMiDs combination significantly enhance AMG 701-mediated autologous patient MM cell lysis in a synergistic manner (combination index < 1). In the human NCI-H929 xenograft model reconstituted with human T effector cells, AMG 701 effectively blocked tumor growth 5d after the first injection, regardless of doses (0.02-2 mg/kg). Tumors were completely eradicated following 3 separate injections in the host without weight loss. Next, sub-optimal doses and treatment schedules for AMG 701 and len were then used to investigate in vivo anti-MM effects by the combination vs monotherapy. Mice receiving MM cells were treated, from d15 until the end of the study, with len once daily, AMG 701 once weekly, or combination of AMG 701 and len. Two days after the first drug administration, all three treatments significantly inhibited MM tumor growth in mice (p<0.001). Most importantly, while AMG 701 or len group showed tumor progress eventually, the combination of AMG 701 with len continuously suppressed tumor growth (p<0.05 after d26; p<0.001 after d40 for combination vs either agent alone). Combination of AMG 701 and len significantly induced superior MM cell regression, compared to either monotherapy, resulting in enhanced tumor regression and prevention of disease relapse. Taken together, these results strongly support AMG 701-based clinical studies, both as monotherapy (NCT03287908) and in combination with IMiDs to enhance elimination of residual diseases and prolong long-term durable responses in MM.

Disclosures

Munshi:Oncopep: Consultancy; Janssen: Consultancy; Abbvie: Consultancy; Takeda: Consultancy; Adaptive: Consultancy; Amgen: Consultancy; Celgene: Consultancy. Wahl:Amgen Research GmbH: Employment. Matthes:Amgen Research GmbH: Employment. Anderson:Sanofi-Aventis: Other: Advisory Board; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Other: Scientific Founder; Oncopep: Other: Scientific Founder; Amgen: Consultancy, Speakers Bureau; Janssen: Consultancy, Speakers Bureau; Takeda: Consultancy, Speakers Bureau; Celgene: Consultancy, Speakers Bureau. Chapman-Arvedson:Amgen Research: Employment.

Author notes

*

Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.