The cluster of differentiation 38 (CD38) is a well-validated target for treating multiple myeloma. Although anti-CD38 mAbs have demonstrated outstanding initial responses in patients with multiple myeloma, nearly all patients eventually develop resistance and relapse. In addition, currently approved CD38 targeting therapies have failed to show monotherapy efficacy in lymphomas, where CD38 expression is present but at lower levels. To effectively target CD38 on tumor cells, we generated an antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) enhanced bispecific CD38 x intercellular cell adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) antibody, VP301. This bispecific antibody targets unique epitopes on CD38 and ICAM-1 on tumor cells with reduced red blood cell binding compared with the benchmark CD38 antibody daratumumab. VP301 demonstrated potent ADCC and antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis activities on a selected set of myeloma and lymphoma cell lines even those with low CD38 expression. In an ex vivo drug sensitivity assay, we observed responses to VP301 in multiple myeloma primary samples from relapsed/refractory patients. Moreover, VP301 demonstrated potent tumor inhibition activities in in vivo myeloma and lymphoma models. Interestingly, combination of VP301 with the immunomodulatory drug, lenalidomide, led to synergistic antitumor growth activity in an in vivo efficacy study. In conclusion, the CD38 x ICAM-1 bispecific antibody VP301 demonstrated promising efficacy and specificity toward CD38+ and ICAM-1+ tumor cells and represents a novel approach for treating multiple myeloma and lymphoma.

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