ER+ breast cancers depend on ER signaling throughout disease progression, including after acquired resistance to existing endocrine agents, providing a rationale for further optimization and development of ER-targeting agents. Fulvestrant is unique amongst currently approved ER ligand therapeutics due to its classification as a full ER antagonist, which is thought to be achieved through degradation of ERα protein. However, the full clinical potential of fulvestrant is believed to be limited by poor physiochemical properties and exposure limitations due to its administration by intramuscular injection.

Strategies to generate orally bioavailable molecules that retain fulvestrant's full antagonist profile but with considerably improved drug-like properties are thus being widely employed to identify next generation ER therapeutics. However, we find that therapeutic candidates that have recently emerged from prospective optimization of ER degradation, including GDC-0810 and GDC-0927, are not mechanistically equivalent. GDC-0810, GDC-0927, and fulvestrant display unique profiles in terms of ER degradation, transcriptional phenotypes and anti-proliferative potential across a panel of ER+ breast cancer cell lines. In HCI-011 (ER.WT) and HCI-013 (ER.Y537S) ER+ patient-derived breast cancer xenograft (PDX) models, GDC-0927 achieves more robust transcriptional suppression of ER than GDC-0810, and also and greater efficacy. Although displaying a more desirable mechanistic profile than GDC-0810, GDC-0927 has more rapid clearance and poor oral bioavailability, leading to a high pill burden and potential exposure limitation.

Here, we describe for the first time GDC-9545, in which the distinct liabilities of GDC-0810, GDC-0927 and fulvestrant are addressed. GDC-9545 is a non-steroidal ER ligand that is highly potent in competing with estradiol for binding and in driving an antagonist conformation within the ER ligand binding domain. Like fulvestrant, and displaying some improvements over GDC-0927, GDC-9545 consistently induces ER turnover and drives deep transcriptional suppression of ER, resulting in robust in vitro anti-proliferative activity.

GDC-9545 exhibits reduced metabolism and increased oral bioavailability relative to GDC-0927, resulting in an overall improved oral exposure in multiple species. As a result of both its mechanistic pharmacology and improved oral exposure, GDC-9545 can achieve the same degree of anti-tumor activity as GDC-0927 but at 100-fold lower doses in the HCI-013 PDX model. The in vivo efficacy of GDC-9545 in this model is greater than GDC-0810 and fulvestrant at clinically relevant exposures. The highly potent in vivo efficacy of GDC-9545 likely arises due to the particular combination of high binding potency, full suppression of ER signaling, and an improved DMPK profile when compared to GDC-0927 and fulvestrant. GDC-9545 is currently being evaluated in Phase 1 clinical trials ( Identifier: NCT03332797).

Citation Format: Metcalfe C, Ingalla E, Blake RA, Chang J, Daemen A, De Bruyn T, Giltnane JM, Guan J, Hafner M, Hartman S, Kategaya L, Kleinheinz T, Liang J, Mody V, Nannini M, Oeh J, Ubhayakar S, Wertz I, Young A, Zbieg J, Zhou W, Sampath D, Friedman LS, Wang X. GDC-9545: A novel ER antagonist and clinical candidate that combines desirable mechanistic and pre-clinical DMPK attributes [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium; 2018 Dec 4-8; San Antonio, TX. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2019;79(4 Suppl):Abstract nr P5-04-07.