Activation of costimulatory receptors of the tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) superfamily in T cells is considered a promising alternative approach to potentiate anti-tumor immunity that may complement strategies focused on the blockade of co-inhibitory pathways such PD-1/PDL1. Glucocorticoid-induced TNFR-related protein (GITR, CD357 or TNFRSF18) is an important T cell costimulatory receptor that can potentiate T cell receptor (TCR) signaling during CD4+ and CD8+ T cell priming, effector cell differentiation and memory T cell recall responses. In humans GITR expression is generally restricted to subsets of T cells responding to TCR stimulation, and is co-expressed with OX40. Like other TNFR family members, GITR co-stimulation can enhance T cell responsiveness to suboptimal TCR signaling by activating the NFκB pathway, leading to enhanced cytokine responses and survival. GITR signaling in T cells may also promote resistance to the immune suppressive effects of regulatory T cells, thereby enhancing T cell responsiveness to weakly immunogenic tumor-associated antigens. INCAGN01876 is a humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody being developed for the treatment of advanced malignancies. INCAGN01876 potently binds to human and non-human primate GITR but does not cross-react with related TNFR family members. INCAGN01876 has been optimized to mediate receptor forward signaling under suboptimal TCR stimulatory conditions, leading to increased production of TNFα and IFNγ by both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. INCAGN01876 achieves this functionality by virtue of its ability to facilitate GITR clustering in TCR-stimulated T lymphocytes. In mouse preclinical tumor models, GITR was found to be selectively overexpressed by intratumoral regulatory T cells, a finding that was also observed in primary human tumor samples from diverse tumor types. In mouse models, this feature enabled a surrogate anti-GITR antibody to co-engage activating Fcγ receptors expressed by tumor-associated effector cells, and mediate the selective depletion of intratumoral regulatory T cells. Consistent with this, INCAGN01876 was designed to co-engage activating Fcγ receptors and was shown to efficiently mediate immune effector cell mechanisms, including ADCC and ADCP. Taken together, the biophysical and functional attributes of INCAGN01876 make it ideally suited for clinical development, both as a single agent and in combination with other immunomodulatory agents.

Citation Format: Ana Maria Gonzalez, Ekaterina Breous, Mariana L. Manrique, David Savitsky, Jeremy Waight, Randi Gombos, Yuqi Liu, Shiwen Lin, Olivier Leger, Volker Seibert, Takemasa Tsuji, Taha Merghoub, Sadna Budha, Roberta Zappasodi, Gerd Ritter, Jedd Wolchok, Peggy Scherle, Gregory Hollis, Reid Huber, Marc Van Dijk, Robert Stein, Nicholas Wilson. A novel agonist antibody (INCAGN01876) that targets the costimulatory receptor GITR. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2016 Apr 16-20; New Orleans, LA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2016;76(14 Suppl):Abstract nr 3220.