Trispecific antibodies for CD16A-directed NK cell engagement and dual-targeting of tumor cells

Protein Eng Des Sel. 2017 Sep 1;30(9):673-684. doi: 10.1093/protein/gzx043.


Bispecific antibodies that redirect the lytic activity of cytotoxic immune effector cells, such as T- and NK cells, onto tumor cells have emerged as a highly attractive and clinically validated treatment modality for hematological malignancies. Advancement of this therapeutic concept into solid tumor indications, however, is hampered by the scarcity of targetable antigens that are surface-expressed on tumor cells but demonstrate only limited expression on healthy tissues. To overcome this limitation, the concept of dual-targeting, i.e. the simultaneous targeting of two tumor-expressed surface antigens with limited co-expression on non-malignant cells, with multispecific antibodies has been proposed to increase tumor selectivity of antibody-induced effector cell cytotoxicity. Here, a novel CD16A (FcγRIIIa)-directed trispecific, tetravalent antibody format, termed aTriFlex, is described, that is capable of redirecting NK cell cytotoxicity to two surface-expressed antigens. Using a BCMA/CD200-based in vitro model system, the potential use of aTriFlex antibodies for dual-targeting and selective induction of NK cell-mediated target cell lysis was investigated. Bivalent bispecific target cell binding was found to result in significant avidity gains and up to 17-fold increased in vitro potency. These data suggest trispecific aTriFlex antibodies may support dual-targeting strategies to redirect NK cell cytotoxicity with increased selectivity to enable targeting of solid tumor antigens.

Keywords: CD16A; NK cell; antibody; bispecific; trispecific.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bispecific / biosynthesis*
  • Antibodies, Bispecific / genetics
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / biosynthesis*
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Antibody Affinity
  • Antigens, CD / genetics
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • B-Cell Maturation Antigen / genetics
  • B-Cell Maturation Antigen / immunology
  • CHO Cells
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Cricetulus
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic*
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / cytology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptors, IgG / genetics
  • Receptors, IgG / immunology*
  • Recombinant Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology


  • Antibodies, Bispecific
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm
  • Antigens, CD
  • B-Cell Maturation Antigen
  • FCGR3A protein, human
  • Receptors, IgG
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • TNFRSF17 protein, human
  • antigens, CD200