STING pathway agonism has emerged as a potential therapeutic mechanism to stimulate an innate anti-tumor immune response. However, the systemic administration of a free STING agonist may be limited by toxicity, and broad biodistribution may not be ideal. Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) constitute a proven therapeutic modality that enables tumor-targeted delivery and thus is ideally suited to systemic administration with reduced toxicity. To develop an optimized STING-agonist ADC platform, we designed a novel STING-agonist specifically tailored for use in an ADC. Determination of the co-crystal structure confirmed that the agonist binds to the closed, or ‘active', conformation of the STING homodimer. The resulting Immunosynthen platform, which was developed specifically for the selected STING agonist payload, was used to generate XMT-2056, a tumor antigen-targeted STING-agonist ADC with excellent drug-like properties and >100-fold increased potency as compared to the free STING-agonist payload. In mice, XMT-2056 induced robust anti-tumor immune activity, with only minimal increases in systemic cytokine levels, and exhibited significant benefit over the benchmark free STING-agonist payload in both regards. Additionally, in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrate that XMT-2056 is able to activate the STING pathway in both tumor-resident immune cells and tumor cells, offering a potential advantage over other innate immune activating pathways. XMT-2056 was well-tolerated in non-human primates at significantly higher exposure levels than those required for anti-tumor activity, and the ADC exhibited favorable pharmacokinetics after repeat doses. Together these data support the clinical development of XMT-2056.

Citation Format: Jeremy R. Duvall, Raghida A. Bukhalid, Naniye M. Cetinbas, Kalli C. Catcott, Kelly Slocum, Kenneth Avocetien, Keith W. Bentley, Stephen Bradley, Susan Clardy, Scott D. Collins, Elizabeth Ditty, Timothy Eitas, Brian D. Jones, Eugene W. Kelleher, Winnie Lee, Travis Monnell, Rebecca Mosher, Marina Protopopova, LiuLiang Qin, Pamela Shaw, Elena Ter-Ovanesyan, Joshua D. Thomas, Phonphimon Wongthida, Ling Xu, Liping Yang, Jeffrey Zurita, Dorin Toader, Marc Damelin, Timothy B. Lowinger. XMT-2056, a well-tolerated, Immunosynthen-based STING-agonist antibody-drug conjugate which induces anti-tumor immune activity [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2021; 2021 Apr 10-15 and May 17-21. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2021;81(13_Suppl):Abstract nr 1738.