ICOS (inducible co-stimulator molecule) is a T cell encoded member of the extended B7/CD28 superfamily that is up-regulated upon early T cell activation. Previous studies have shown that higher ICOS expression on circulating T cells, post treatment with ipilimumab, is associated with better clinical outcome. In complementary pre-clinical studies, efficacy observed with a whole cell vaccine consisting of ICOS-L expressing B16 melanoma (IVAX) suggests that agonism of this pathway could provide therapeutic benefit in the cancer setting.
In accordance with these observations, we generated a panel of anti-ICOS monoclonal antibodies with in vitro agonist properties. A lead series of mAbs were shown to be efficacious as monotherapies in syngeneic tumors models with enhanced tumor inhibition observed in combination with anti-PD1. Mechanistic studies demonstrate that tumor regression is associated with enhanced ratios of cytotoxic CD8/regulatory T (Tregs) cells and that this change is related to preferential reduction in ICOS high Tregs in the tumor microenvironment.
These data provided the rationale for development of a high affinity humanized agonist monoclonal antibody to be tested in both mono therapy and in combination with other T cell checkpoints. Our lead anti-ICOS antibody is currently in IND-enabling studies and will be tested for activity in solid tumor indications.
Citation Format: Kutlu Elpek, Christopher Harvey, Ellen Duong, Tyler Simpson, Jenny Shu, Lindsey Shallberg, Matt Wallace, Sriram Sathy, Robert Mabry, Jennifer Michaelson, Michael Briskin. Efficacy of anti-ICOS agonist monoclonal antibodies in preclinical tumor models provides a rationale for clinical development as cancer immunotherapeutics. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR Inaugural International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference: Translating Science into Survival; September 16-19, 2015; New York, NY. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Immunol Res 2016;4(1 Suppl):Abstract nr A059.
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