ADCT-402, a PBD dimer–containing antibody drug conjugate targeting CD19-expressing malignancies

Francesca Zammarchi, Simon Corbett, Lauren Adams, Peter C. Tyrer, Konstantinos Kiakos, Narinder Janghra, Teresa Marafioti, Charles E. Britten, Carin E. G. Havenith, Simon Chivers, Francois D’Hooge, David G. Williams, Arnaud Tiberghien, Philip W. Howard, John A. Hartley and Patrick H. van Berkel

Key Points

  • ADCT-402 is a CD19-targeted ADC delivering SG3199, a cytotoxic DNA minor groove interstrand crosslinking PDB dimer warhead.

  • ADCT-402 has potent and selective antitumor activity against CD19-expressing hematological malignancies warranting clinical development.


Human CD19 antigen is a 95-kDa type I membrane glycoprotein in the immunoglobulin superfamily whose expression is limited to the various stages of B-cell development and differentiation and is maintained in the majority of B-cell malignancies, including leukemias and non-Hodgkin lymphomas of B-cell origin. Coupled with its differential and favorable expression profile, CD19 has rapid internalization kinetics and is not shed into the circulation, making it an ideal target for the development of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) to treat B-cell malignancies. ADCT-402 (loncastuximab tesirine) is a novel CD19-targeted ADC delivering SG3199, a highly cytotoxic DNA minor groove interstrand crosslinking pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PDB) dimer warhead. It showed potent and highly targeted in vitro cytotoxicity in CD19-expressing human cell lines. ADCT-402 was specifically bound, internalized, and trafficked to lysosomes in CD19-expressing cells and, following release of the PBD warhead, resulted in formation of DNA crosslinks that persisted for 36 hours. Bystander killing of CD19 cells by ADCT-402 was also observed. In vivo, single doses of ADCT-402 resulted in highly potent, dose-dependent antitumor activity in several subcutaneous and disseminated human tumor models with marked superiority to comparator ADCs delivering tubulin inhibitors. Dose-dependent DNA crosslinks and γ-H2AX DNA damage response were measured in tumors by 24 hours after single dose administration, whereas matched peripheral blood mononuclear cells showed no evidence of DNA damage. Pharmacokinetic analysis in rat and cynomolgus monkey showed excellent stability and tolerability of ADCT-402 in vivo. Together, these impressive data were used to support the clinical testing of this novel ADC in patients with CD19-expressing B-cell malignancies.

  • Submitted October 26, 2017.
  • Accepted December 21, 2017.
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