Immune-stimulator antibody conjugates (ISAC) combining tumor-targeting monoclonal antibodies with immunostimulatory agents allow targeted delivery of immune activators into tumors. NJH395 is a novel, first-in-class ISAC comprising a Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) agonist conjugated to an anti-HER2 antibody via a noncleavable linker payload. Preclinical characterization showed ISAC-mediated activation of myeloid cells in the presence of antigen-expressing cancer cells, with antigen targeting and TLR7 agonism contributing to antitumor activity. Safety, efficacy, immunogenicity, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics were investigated in a phase I, multicenter, open-label study in patients with HER2+ non-breast advanced malignancies (NCT03696771). Data from 18 patients enrolled in single ascending dose escalation demonstrated delivery of the TLR7-agonist payload in HER2+ tumor cells and induction of type I IFN responses, which correlated with immune modulation in the tumor microenvironment. Cytokine release syndrome was a common, but manageable, drug-related adverse event. Antidrug antibodies and neuroinflammation at high doses represented significant clinical challenges. Data provide proof-of-mechanism and critical insights for novel immunotherapies.
©2022 American Association for Cancer Research.