A disintegrin and metalloprotease (ADAM) 9 is a member of the ADAM family of multifunctional, multidomain type 1 transmembrane proteins. ADAM9 is overexpressed in many cancers, including non-small cell lung, pancreatic, gastric, breast, ovarian, and colorectal cancer, but exhibits limited expression in normal tissues. A target-unbiased discovery platform based on intact tumor and progenitor cell immunizations, followed by an immunohistochemistry screen, led to the identification of anti-ADAM9 antibodies with selective tumor-versus-normal tissue binding. Subsequent analysis revealed anti-ADAM9 antibodies were efficiently internalized and processed by tumor cells making ADAM9 an attractive target for antibody-drug conjugate development. Here, we describe the preclinical evaluation of IMGC936, a novel antibody-drug conjugate targeted against ADAM9. IMGC936 is comprised of a high-affinity humanized antibody site-specifically conjugated to DM21-C, a next-generation linker-payload that combines a maytansinoid microtubule-disrupting payload with a stable tripeptide linker, at a drug antibody ratio of approximately 2.0. Additionally, the YTE mutation (M252Y/S254T/T256E) was introduced into the CH2 domain of the antibody Fc to maximize in vivo plasma half-life and exposure. IMGC936 exhibited cytotoxicity toward ADAM9-positive human tumor cell lines, as well as bystander killing, potent antitumor activity in human cell line-derived xenograft and patient-derived xenograft tumor models, and an acceptable safety profile in cynomolgus monkeys with favorable pharmacokinetic properties. Our preclinical data provide a strong scientific rationale for the further development of IMGC936 as a therapeutic candidate for the treatment of ADAM9-positive cancers. A first-in-human study of IMGC936 in patients with advanced solid tumors has been initiated (NCT04622774).

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