A CD123-targeting antibody-drug conjugate, IMGN632, designed to eradicate AML while sparing normal bone marrow cells

Blood Adv. 2018 Apr 24;2(8):848-858. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2018017517.


The outlook for patients with refractory/relapsed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remains poor, with conventional chemotherapeutic treatments often associated with unacceptable toxicities, including severe infections due to profound myelosuppression. Thus there exists an urgent need for more effective agents to treat AML that confer high therapeutic indices and favorable tolerability profiles. Because of its high expression on leukemic blast and stem cells compared with normal hematopoietic stem cells and progenitors, CD123 has emerged as a rational candidate for molecularly targeted therapeutic approaches in this disease. Here we describe the development and preclinical characterization of a CD123-targeting antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), IMGN632, that comprises a novel humanized anti-CD123 antibody G4723A linked to a recently reported DNA mono-alkylating payload of the indolinobenzodiazepine pseudodimer (IGN) class of cytotoxic compounds. The activity of IMGN632 was compared with X-ADC, the ADC utilizing the G4723A antibody linked to a DNA crosslinking IGN payload. With low picomolar potency, both ADCs reduced viability in AML cell lines and patient-derived samples in culture, irrespective of their multidrug resistance or disease status. However, X-ADC exposure was >40-fold more cytotoxic to the normal myeloid progenitors than IMGN632. Of particular note, IMGN632 demonstrated potent activity in all AML samples at concentrations well below levels that impacted normal bone marrow progenitors, suggesting the potential for efficacy in AML patients in the absence of or with limited myelosuppression. Furthermore, IMGN632 demonstrated robust antitumor efficacy in multiple AML xenograft models. Overall, these findings identify IMGN632 as a promising candidate for evaluation as a novel therapy in AML.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Heterografts
  • Humans
  • Immunoconjugates / immunology
  • Immunoconjugates / therapeutic use*
  • Interleukin-3 Receptor alpha Subunit / immunology*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / drug therapy*
  • Mice
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • IL3RA protein, human
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Interleukin-3 Receptor alpha Subunit