Targeting CD74 in multiple myeloma with the novel, site-specific antibody-drug conjugate STRO-001

Oncotarget. 2018 Dec 28;9(102):37700-37714. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.26491.


STRO-001 is a site-specific, predominantly single-species, fully human, aglycosylated anti-CD74 antibody-drug conjugate incorporating a non-cleavable linker-maytansinoid warhead with a drug-antibody ratio of 2 which was produced by a novel cell-free antibody synthesis platform. We examined the potential pharmacodynamics and anti-tumor effects of STRO-001 in multiple myeloma (MM). CD74 expression was assessed in MM cell lines and primary bone marrow (BM) MM biopsies. CD74 mRNA was detectable in CD138+ enriched plasma cells from 100% (892/892) of patients with newly diagnosed MM. Immunohistochemistry confirmed CD74 expression in 35/36 BM biopsies from patients with newly diagnosed and relapsed/refractory MM. Cytotoxicity assays demonstrated nanomolar STRO-001 potency in 4/6 MM cell lines. In ARP-1 and MM.1S tumor-bearing mice, repeat STRO-001 dosing provided significant antitumor activity with eradication of malignant hCD138+ BM plasma cells and prolonged survival. In a luciferase-expressing MM.1S xenograft model, dose-dependent STRO-001 efficacy was confirmed using bioluminescent imaging and BM tumor burden quantification. Consistent with the intended pharmacodynamic effect, STRO-001 induced dose-responsive, reversible B-cell and monocyte depletion in cynomolgus monkeys, up to a maximum tolerated 10 mg/kg, with no evidence of off-target toxicity. Collectively, these data suggest that STRO-001 is a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of MM.

Keywords: CD74; STRO-001; antibody-drug conjugate; multiple myeloma; xenograft models.