The bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE) blinatumomab against CD19 and CD3 has emerged as the most successful bispecific antibody (bsAb) to date; however, a significant proportion of patients do not respond to the treatments or eventually experience relapse after an initial response, and the recurrence rate increases significantly due to escape or downregulation of the CD19 antigen. To enhance antitumor efficacy and overcome potential immune escape, we developed a novel approach to design a CD19/CD22/CD3 trispecific antibody (tsAb) by site-specifically fusing anti-CD19 scFv (FMC63) and anti-CD22 nanobody (Nb25) to the defined sites of the CD3 antigen-binding fragment (Fab, SP34). This strategy allows for the optimal formation of immune synapses mediated by CD19/CD22/CD3 between target cells and T cells. Optimized tsAb can be superior for inducing T-cell-specific cytotoxicity and cytokine production against CD19+ and/or CD22+ tumor cells compared to other tsAb formats, and demonstrated significantly enhanced antitumor efficacy and the ability to overcome immune escape compared with the corresponding bsAbs alone or in combination, as well as with blinatumomab. In addition, tsAb treatment can lead to the long-term elimination of primary B-ALL patient samples in the PDX model and significantly prolong survival. This novel approach provides unique insight into the structural optimization of T-cell-redirected multispecific antibodies using site-specific recombination, and may be broadly applicable to heterogeneous and resistant tumor populations as well as solid tumors.
© 2022 by The American Society of Hematology.