Publications by authors named "Wendy Halpern"

26 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Scientific and Regulatory Policy Committee Best Practices: Documentation of Sexual Maturity by Microscopic Evaluation in Nonclinical Safety Studies.

Toxicol Pathol 2021 Mar 4:192623321990631. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

510456Idorsia Pharmaceuticals Limited, Allschwil, Switzerland.

The sexual maturity status of animals in nonclinical safety studies can have a significant impact on the microscopic assessment of the reproductive system, the interpretation of potential test article-related findings, and ultimately the assessment of potential risk to humans. However, the assessment and documentation of sexual maturity for animals in nonclinical safety studies is not conducted in a consistent manner across the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. The Scientific and Regulatory Policy Committee of the Society of Toxicologic Pathology convened an international working group of pathologists and nonclinical safety scientists with expertise in the reproductive system, pathology nomenclature, and Standard for Exchange of Nonclinical Data requirements. This article describes the best practices for documentation of the light microscopic assessment of sexual maturity in males and females for both rodent and nonrodent nonclinical safety studies. In addition, a review of the microscopic features of the immature, peripubertal, and mature male and female reproductive system and general considerations for study types and reporting are provided to aid the study pathologist tasked with documentation of sexual maturity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0192623321990631DOI Listing
March 2021

Atypical presentation and pathogenesis of a macaque lymphocryptoviral-associated B-cell lymphoma in a cynomolgus monkey.

Vet Clin Pathol 2020 Mar 3;49(1):130-136. Epub 2020 Feb 3.

Genentech, A Member of the Roche Group, South San Francisco, CA, USA.

We report the unique pathogenesis and presentation of a rapidly progressive B-cell lymphoma in a 3-year-old female cynomolgus monkey on day 50 of a 13-week toxicity study. Clinical pathology evaluation revealed a marked leukocytosis with bicytopenia. A serum protein electrophoresis was consistent with monoclonal gammopathy. The architecture of the lymph node, spleen, and thymus were variably effaced by neoplastic cells, which also infiltrated other tissues. Immunohistochemistry of the affected tissues confirmed a predominant population of CD20+, CD79a+, CD3-, CD68-, and CD34-neoplastic cells. The full data best support a diagnosis of Stage V lymphoma. Nextgen sequencing and negative prestudy serology results suggested a recent infection by macaque lymphocryptovirus (mLCV) with a unique transcriptional profile comparable with a rarely observed direct LCV infection model. This infection model might be associated with a temporary lack of an LCV antigen-specific cytotoxic T-cell adaptive immune response. Consistent with the established mechanisms of LCV-related lymphoproliferation, MYC and BCL2L11 gene expression were increased and decreased, respectively. While there was no overt immunosuppression, immunophenotyping revealed the index animal had a relatively low NK cell count, which further decreased by >50% on day 24 of the study. In addition to the temporary lack of adaptive immunity, the low NK cell counts were suggestive of an impaired innate immunity to control the virally-transformed cells and the subsequent unchecked lymphoproliferation. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a Stage V lymphoma with a unique pathogenesis in an otherwise immunocompetent cynomolgus monkey.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/vcp.12822DOI Listing
March 2020

In Vivo Assessment of Antibody-Dependent Enhancement of Influenza B Infection.

Toxicol Sci 2019 06;169(2):409-421

Department of Safety Assessment, Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, California 94080.

A theoretical safety concern proposed in the influenza literature is that therapeutic antiviral antibodies could have the potential for antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of infection and disease. ADE may occur when virus-specific antibodies at subtherapeutic, nonneutralizing concentrations facilitate virus uptake and, in some cases, enhance replication, which can lead to an exacerbation of virus-mediated disease. Alternatively, ADE may occur due to antibody-dependent complement activation exacerbating virus-mediated disease in the absence of increased replication. As a result of this theoretical safety concern, safety assessment of anti-influenza antibodies may include an in vivo evaluation of ADE of infection and/or disease. These studies were conducted to investigate the potential of MHAB5553A, a broadly specific, neutralizing therapeutic anti-influenza B antibody, to elicit ADE of infection and disease in mouse models of influenza B infection. In parallel studies, female DBA/2J mice were infected with either influenza B/Victoria/504/2000 or influenza B/Brisbane/60/2008 representing distinct lineages. Assessment of ADE was based on an integration of results from multiple endpoints, including infectious lung viral titers and genomes, body weight, mortality, lung weight, and histopathology. In these studies, the high dose of 15 mg/kg MHAB5553A resulted in substantial attenuation of influenza pneumonia, with more modest effects at 1.5 mg/kg; whereas MHAB5553A treatment at 0.15 or 0.015 mg/kg was generally comparable to vehicle-treated controls. Our results demonstrate that MHAB5553A across a broad range of doses did not enhance primary influenza B infection or disease in this model, and represent a nonclinical de-risking of the ADE potential with this antibody.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kfz053DOI Listing
June 2019

Physiology of the Neonatal Gastrointestinal System Relevant to the Disposition of Orally Administered Medications.

Drug Metab Dispos 2019 03 19;47(3):296-313. Epub 2018 Dec 19.

US Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, College Park, Maryland (A.N.-K.); US Food and Drug Administration, National Center for Toxicological Research, Jefferson, Arkansas (J.F.); Independent Consultant, Vienna, Virginia (L.G.); and Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, California (S.K.-K., W.H.)

A thorough knowledge of the newborn (age, birth to 1 month postpartum) infant's gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is critical to the evaluation of the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) of orally administered drugs in this population. Developmental changes in the GIT during the newborn period are important for nutrient uptake as well as the disposition of orally administered medications. Some aspects of gastrointestinal function do not mature until driven by increased dietary complexity and nutritional demands later in the postnatal period. The functionalities present at birth, and subsequent maturation, can also impact the ADME parameters of orally administered compounds. This review will examine some specific contributors to the ADME processes in human neonates, as well as what is currently understood about the drivers for their maturation. Key species differences will be highlighted, with a focus on laboratory animals used in juvenile toxicity studies. Because of the gaps and inconsistencies in our knowledge, we will also highlight areas where additional study is warranted to better inform the appropriate use of medicines specifically intended for neonates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/dmd.118.084418DOI Listing
March 2019

Resolution of unexpected pregnancy-related findings in a rat embryofetal development and toxicokinetic study of monoclonal antibodies specific for hCMV.

Birth Defects Res 2018 11 31;110(18):1347-1357. Epub 2018 Oct 31.

Department of Safety Assessment, Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, California.

Background: Developmental and reproductive toxicity testing is not uniformly warranted for biopharmaceuticals that lack relevant targets in test species. However, RG7667, consisting of two monoclonal antibodies specific for human cytomegalovirus (hCMV), was intended for administration to pregnant women to prevent transmission of CMV to the developing fetus.

Methods: Considering the target indication, a Pilot Embryo Fetal Development/Toxicokinetic study was conducted to assess toxicokinetics in the dam and fetuses and general tolerability.

Results: RG7667 administered intravenously to presumed pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats was well tolerated with no clinical signs in any dam and comparable litter sizes and viability across groups. However, at cesarean section, hepatic necrosis and pancreatic edema were identified in two dams administered RG7667, with no clear dose relationship. Investigation of total protein, albumin, and transaminase activity in residual serum from TK samples demonstrated striking hypoproteinemia and elevated transaminases limited to these two dams. Overall, these pathology findings in dams were considered of uncertain relationship to RG7667; therefore, a subsequent Pivotal EFD study was conducted, which did not repeat the liver or pancreatic findings.

Conclusions: The results of the Pivotal study confirmed the lack of overt toxicity, teratogenicity, or effects on litter size and viability when human or humanized monoclonal antibodies that lack an endogenous target are administered IV to rats during pregnancy. With these additional data, we concluded that the unexpected pathology findings in the Pilot study were not specific to RG7667, but rather highlight some clinical pathology and macroscopic/microscopic findings that can occur during pregnancy in rats.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bdr2.1402DOI Listing
November 2018

Applying a weight of evidence approach to the evaluation of developmental toxicity of biopharmaceuticals.

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 2018 Oct 24;98:69-79. Epub 2018 Jul 24.

Pfizer, Inc, Drug Safety Research & Development, Groton, CT, United States. Electronic address:

Toxicity studies in pregnant animals are not always necessary for assessing the human risk of developmental toxicity of biopharmaceuticals. The growing experience and information on target biology and molecule-specific pharmacokinetics present a powerful approach to accurately anticipate effects of target engagement by biopharmaceuticals using a weight of evidence approach. The weight of evidence assessment should include all available data including target biology, pharmacokinetics, class effects, genetically modified animals, human mutations, and a thorough literature review. When assimilated, this weight of evidence evaluation may be sufficient to inform risk for specific clinical indications and patient populations. While under current guidance this approach is only applicable for drugs and biologics for oncology, the authors would like to suggest that this approach may also be appropriate for other disease indications. When there is an unacceptable level of uncertainty and a toxicity study in pregnant animals could impact human risk assessment, then such studies should be considered. Determination of appropriate nonclinical species for developmental toxicity studies to inform human risk should consider species-specific limitations, reproductive physiology, and pharmacology of the biopharmaceutical. This paper will provide considerations and examples of the weight of evidence approach to evaluating the human risk of developmental toxicity of biopharmaceuticals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yrtph.2018.07.006DOI Listing
October 2018

Placental and Fetal Effects of Onartuzumab, a Met/HGF Signaling Antagonist, When Administered to Pregnant Cynomolgus Monkeys.

Toxicol Sci 2018 09;165(1):186-197

Department of Safety Assessment, Genentech, South San Francisco, California 94080.

Onartuzumab is an engineered single arm, monovalent monoclonal antibody that targets the MET receptor and prevents hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) signaling. Knockout mice have clearly demonstrated that HGF/MET signaling is developmentally critical. A pre- and postnatal development study (enhanced design) was conducted in cynomolgus monkeys to evaluate the potential developmental consequences following onartuzumab administration. Control or onartuzumab, at loading/maintenance doses of 75/50 mg/kg (low) or 100/100 mg/kg (high), was administered intravenously once weekly to 12 confirmed pregnant female cynomolgus monkeys per group from gestation day (GD) 20 through GD 174. Onartuzumab administration resulted in decreased gestation length, decreased birth weight, and increased fetal and perinatal mortality. A GD147 C-section was conducted for a subset of Control and High Dose monkeys, and identified placental infarcts with hemorrhage in the chorionic plate, chorionic villus and/or decidual plate. These findings were limited to placentas from onartuzumab-treated animals. In addition, decreased cellularity of the hepatocytes with dilated hepatic sinusoids was inconsistently observed in the liver of a few fetal or infant monkeys that died in the perinatal period. Surviving offspring had some evidence of developmental delay compared with controls, but no overt teratogenicity. Overall, effects on the perinatal fetuses were consistent with those reported in knockout mice, but not as severe. Onartuzumab concentrations were low or below the level of detection in most offspring, with cord blood concentrations only 1%-2% of maternal levels on GD 147. Malperfusion secondary to onartuzumab-induced placental injury could explain the adverse pregnancy outcomes, fetal growth restriction and relatively low fetal exposures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kfy141DOI Listing
September 2018

Use of Severity Grades to Characterize Histopathologic Changes.

Toxicol Pathol 2018 04 12;46(3):256-265. Epub 2018 Mar 12.

11 Food and Drug Administration, College Park, Maryland, USA.

The severity grade is an important component of a histopathologic diagnosis in a nonclinical toxicity study that helps distinguish treatment-related effects from background findings and aids in determining adverse dose levels during hazard characterization. Severity grades should be assigned based only on the extent (i.e., amount and complexity) of the morphologic change in the examined tissue section(s) and be clearly defined in the pathology report for critical lesions impacting study interpretation. However, the level of detail provided and criteria by which severity grades are assigned can vary, which can lead to inappropriate comparisons and confusion when evaluating pathology results. To help address this issue, a Working Group of the Society of Toxicologic Pathology's Scientific and Regulatory Policy Committee was formed to provide a "points to consider" article on the assignment and application of pathology severity grades. Overall, the Working Group supports greater transparency and consistency in the reporting of grading scales and provides recommendations to improve selection of diagnoses requiring more detailed severity criteria. This information should enhance the overall understanding by toxicologic pathologists, toxicologists, and regulatory reviewers of pathology findings and thereby improve effective communication in regulatory submissions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0192623318761348DOI Listing
April 2018

Regulatory Forum Opinion Piece: Review of FDA Draft Guidance Testicular Toxicity-Evaluation during Drug Development Guidance for Industry.

Toxicol Pathol 2016 10 29;44(7):927-30. Epub 2016 Jun 29.

MPI Research, Mattawan, Michigan, USA.

In July 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posted a new draft guidance entitled "Testicular Toxicity: Evaluation during Drug Development Guidance for Industry," with a 90-day public comment period. As the nonclinical assessment of testicular toxicity often relies on the expert interpretation of pathology affecting the male reproductive tract, this draft guidance is considered directly relevant to the toxicologic pathology community. Therefore, a working group was formed through the Scientific and Regulatory Policy Committee of the Society of Toxicologic Pathologists (STPs) to provide a detailed review of the draft guidance. Specific comments on the guidance were submitted to the FDA by the STP. The draft guidance and all comments received are currently under review with the FDA. This commentary provides a summary of the components of the draft guidance and the comments submitted by the STP with acknowledgment of different perspectives reflected in comments from other respondents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0192623316656416DOI Listing
October 2016

Scientific and Regulatory Policy Committee Points to Consider Review: Inclusion of Reproductive and Pathology End Points for Assessment of Reproductive and Developmental Toxicity in Pharmaceutical Drug Development.

Toxicol Pathol 2016 08 27;44(6):789-809. Epub 2016 May 27.

Pfizer, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Standard components of nonclinical toxicity testing for novel pharmaceuticals include clinical and anatomic pathology, as well as separate evaluation of effects on reproduction and development to inform clinical development and labeling. General study designs in regulatory guidances do not specifically mandate use of pathology or reproductive end points across all study types; thus, inclusion and use of these end points are variable. The Scientific and Regulatory Policy Committee of the Society of Toxicologic Pathology (STP) formed a Working Group to assess the current guidelines and practices on the use of reproductive, anatomic pathology, and clinical pathology end points in general, reproductive, and developmental toxicology studies. The Working Group constructed a survey sent to pathologists and reproductive toxicologists, and responses from participating organizations were collected through the STP for evaluation by the Working Group. The regulatory context, relevant survey results, and collective experience of the Working Group are discussed and provide the basis of each assessment by study type. Overall, the current practice of including specific end points on a case-by-case basis is considered appropriate. Points to consider are summarized for inclusion of reproductive end points in general toxicity studies and for the informed use of pathology end points in reproductive and developmental toxicity studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0192623316650052DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4979743PMC
August 2016

Perspective on a Modified Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity Testing Strategy for Cancer Immunotherapy.

Int J Toxicol 2016 05 18;35(3):263-73. Epub 2016 Jan 18.

Department of Safety Assessment, Genentech Inc, South San Francisco, CA, USA.

The intent of cancer immunotherapy (CIT) is to generate and enhance T-cell responses against tumors. The tumor microenvironment establishes several inhibitory pathways that lead to suppression of the local immune response, which is permissive for tumor growth. The efficacy of different CITs, alone and in combination, stems from reinvigorating the tumor immune response via several mechanisms, including costimulatory agonists, checkpoint inhibitors, and vaccines. However, immune responses to other antigens (self and foreign) may also be enhanced, resulting in potentially undesired effects. In outbred mammalian pregnancies, the fetus expresses paternally derived alloantigens that are recognized as foreign by the maternal immune system. If unchecked or enhanced, maternal immunity to these alloantigens represents a developmental and reproductive risk and thus is a general liability for cancer immunotherapeutic molecules. We propose a tiered approach to confirm this mechanistic reproductive liability for CIT molecules. A rodent allopregnancy model is based on breeding 2 different strains of mice so that paternally derived alloantigens are expressed by the fetus. When tested with a cross-reactive biotherapeutic, small molecule drug, or surrogate molecule, this model should reveal on-target reproductive liabilities if the pathway is involved in maintaining pregnancy. Alternatively, allopregnancy models with genetically modified mice can be interrogated for exquisitely specific biotherapeutics with restricted species reactivity. The allopregnancy model represents a relatively straightforward approach to confirm an expected on-target reproductive risk for CIT molecules. For biotherapeutics, it could potentially replace more complex developmental and reproductive toxicity testing in nonhuman primates when a pregnancy hazard is confirmed or expected.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1091581815625596DOI Listing
May 2016

Combined administration of RG7652, a recombinant human monoclonal antibody against PCSK9, and atorvastatin does not result in reduction of immune function.

Toxicol Sci 2014 Aug 20;140(2):470-80. Epub 2014 May 20.

Safety Assessment, Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, 94080 California.

RG7652 is a human IgG1 monoclonal antibody designed to inhibit proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) binding to hepatic low density lipoprotein receptor (LDL-r), thereby blocking PCSK9-mediated degradation of LDL-r. This therapeutic candidate is under development for the prevention of cardiovascular mortality and morbidity in dyslipidemic patients. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the potential immunotoxicological effects of RG7652 when given to cynomolgus monkeys either alone or in combination with a daily oral dose of atorvastatin. Administration of RG7652 via subcutaneous injection every other week for 12 weeks (a total of seven doses), daily oral doses of atorvastatin (total of 85 doses), and combinations of each up to 15 and 20 mg/kg/dose, respectively, were well tolerated and there was no evidence of alteration in immune function. Administration of pharmacologically relevant doses of RG7652 in combination with atorvastatin to healthy monkeys does not result in clinically meaningful immunosuppression as measured by T-cell dependent antibody responses, natural killer cell activity, immunophenotype, or delayed type hypersensitivity. The only pharmacologically mediated changes observed during the dosing period were the anticipated changes in circulating cholesterol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kfu093DOI Listing
August 2014

Integrated and translational nonclinical in vivo cardiovascular risk assessment: gaps and opportunities.

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 2013 Feb 5;65(1):38-46. Epub 2012 Oct 5.

GlaxoSmithKline, 5 Moore Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.

Cardiovascular (CV) safety concerns are a significant source of drug development attrition in the pharmaceutical industry today. Though current nonclinical testing paradigms have largely prevented catastrophic CV events in Phase I studies, many challenges relating to the inability of current nonclinical safety testing strategies to model patient outcomes persist. Contemporary approaches include a spectrum of evaluations of CV structure and function in a variety of laboratory animal species. These approaches might be improved with a more holistic integration of these evaluations in repeat-dose studies, addition of novel endpoints with greater sensitivity and translational application, and use of more relevant animal models. Particular opportunities present with advances in imaging capabilities applicable to rodent and non-rodent species, technical capabilities for measuring CV function in repeat-dose animal studies, detection and quantitation of microRNAs and wider use of alternative animal models. Strategic application of these novel opportunities considering putative CV risk associated with the molecular drug target as well as inherent risks present in the target patient population could tailor or 'personalize' nonclinical safety assessment as a more translational evaluation. This paper is a call to action for the clinical and nonclinical drug safety communities to assess these opportunities to determine their utility in filling potential gaps in our current cardiovascular safety testing paradigms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yrtph.2012.09.007DOI Listing
February 2013

Stems to GEMs: impact of stem cell technology on engineered animal models.

Vet Pathol 2011 Sep;48(5):1041-3

American College of Veterinary Pathologists, 1 DNA Way MS-59, Genentech, South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA.

Collectively, these presentations introduced the audience to the roles of ES cells in generating phenotypes of transgenic animals,and they provided examples where the GEMs were used to define molecular mechanisms of disease or where ES cells were used as a therapeutic modality. Points of discussion among audience members reinforced the importance of strain-associated background lesions in animal models, technological advances in imaging functional biology, opportunities for stem cell therapies, and ubiquitination in regulation of cell proliferation. The 2012 American College of Veterinary Pathologists symposium ‘‘Evolutionary Aspects of Animal Models’’ will focus on the proper selection of a relevant animal model in biomedical research as critical to investigative success. Recent work characterizing rapid evolutionary changes and differences in physiology between species questions the validity of some comparative models. Dr. Robert Hamlin will be speaking on cardiovascular disease in ‘‘Animals as Models of Human Cardiovascular Disease: Or the Search to Overcome Outdated Evolutionary Homeostatic Mechanisms.’’ Dr. Stefan Niewiesk will discuss evolutionary factors that affect modeling the human immune system in ‘‘Of Mice and Men: Evolutionarily, What Are the Best Rodent Models of the Human Immune System for Infectious Disease Research?’’ Dr. Steven Austad will consider evolution in ‘‘Evolutionary Aspects of Animal Models of Aging.’’Finally, Dr. Elizabeth Uhl will conclude the session with ‘‘Modeling Disease Phenotypes: How an Evolutionary Perspective Enhances the Questions.’’
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0300985811413093DOI Listing
September 2011

Preclinical safety evaluations supporting pediatric drug development with biopharmaceuticals: strategy, challenges, current practices.

Birth Defects Res B Dev Reprod Toxicol 2011 Aug 18;92(4):359-80. Epub 2011 Jul 18.

Lilly Research Laboratories, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

Evaluation of pharmaceutical agents in children is now conducted earlier in the drug development process. An important consideration for this pediatric use is how to assess and support its safety. This article is a collaborative effort of industry toxicologists to review strategies, challenges, and current practice regarding preclinical safety evaluations supporting pediatric drug development with biopharmaceuticals. Biopharmaceuticals include a diverse group of molecular, cell-based or gene therapeutics derived from biological sources or complex biotechnological processes. The principles of preclinical support of pediatric drug development for biopharmaceuticals are similar to those for small molecule pharmaceuticals and in general follow the same regulatory guidances outlined by the Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency. However, many biopharmaceuticals are also inherently different, with limited species specificity or immunogenic potential which may impact the approach taken. This article discusses several key areas to aid in the support of pediatric clinical use, study design considerations for juvenile toxicity studies when they are needed, and current practices to support pediatric drug development based on surveys specifically targeting biopharmaceutical development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bdrb.20305DOI Listing
August 2011

Use of tissue cross-reactivity studies in the development of antibody-based biopharmaceuticals: history, experience, methodology, and future directions.

Toxicol Pathol 2010 Dec 6;38(7):1138-66. Epub 2010 Oct 6.

Therapeutic Area Lead, Biocorrection, Drug Safety Research and Development, Pfizer, Andover, Massachusetts 01810, USA.

Tissue cross-reactivity (TCR) studies are screening assays recommended for antibody and antibody-like molecules that contain a complementarity-determining region (CDR), primarily to identify off-target binding and, secondarily, to identify sites of on-target binding that were not previously identified. At the present time, TCR studies involve the ex vivo immunohistochemical (IHC) staining of a panel of frozen tissues from humans and animals, are conducted prior to dosing humans, and results are filed with the initial IND/CTA to support first-in-human clinical trials. In some cases, a robust TCR assay cannot be developed, and in these cases the lack of a TCR assay should not prevent a program from moving forward. The TCR assay by itself has variable correlation with toxicity or efficacy. Therefore, any findings of interest should be further evaluated and interpreted in the context of the overall pharmacology and safety assessment data package. TCR studies are generally not recommended for surrogate molecules or for comparability assessments in the context of manufacturing/cell line changes. Overall, the design, implementation, and interpretation of TCR studies should follow a case-by-case approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0192623310382559DOI Listing
December 2010

Trail receptors: targets for cancer therapy.

Adv Exp Med Biol 2008 ;615:127-58

Human Genome Sciences, Oncology Research Department, Rockville, MD 20850, USA.

A human tumor cell's ability to avoid the normal regulatory mechanisms of cell growth, division, and death are the hallmarks of transformation and cancer. Numerous novel therapeutic agents currently in preclinical or clinical evaluation aim to revive the normal regulation or evade these regulatory defects and induce growth arrest and cell death. One of the cell death pathways that has garnered significant interest, as a potential target for therapeutic intervention, is the programmed cell death pathway regulated by the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand receptors (TRAIL-RS). Receptor agonist molecules including forms of the native ligand and monoclonal antibodies are being developed and tested as therapeutics in the treatment of human cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6554-5_7DOI Listing
May 2008

Phase 2 study of mapatumumab, a fully human agonistic monoclonal antibody which targets and activates the TRAIL receptor-1, in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

Lung Cancer 2008 Jul 5;61(1):82-90. Epub 2008 Feb 5.

Sarah Cannon Research Institute, 250 25th Avenue North, Suite 110, Nashville, TN 37203, United States.

Background: Preclinical pharmacological properties of mapatumumab (agonistic human monoclonal antibody to TRAIL-R1) suggest that this antibody reduces cell viability, induces cell death in many types of cancer cell lines in vitro, inhibits or reduces tumor growth in xenograft models of solid tumors, and can induce significant tumor regression in some models. The receptor for mapatumumab, TRAIL-R1, is expressed on NSCLC cell lines. This pharmacologic profile suggests that mapatumumab may have therapeutic benefit in the treatment of NSCLC.

Methods: This Phase 2 multi-center study was designed to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of mapatumumab in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) previously treated with at least 1 platinum-based regimen. Each patient was to receive mapatumumab at a dose of 10mg/kg administered intravenously (IV) every 21 days in absence of disease progression.

Results: A total of 32 patients with relapsed or refractory Stage IIIB or IV or recurrent NSCLC were enrolled. Patients had received a median of 3 previous therapeutic regimens (range 1-7). Mapatumumab was well tolerated by the patients in this study with no discontinuations due to adverse events. The most common adverse events reported, regardless of relationship, were fatigue, cough, nausea, dyspnea, constipation, and vomiting. Laboratory analyses revealed no appreciable evidence of hepatic or renal toxicity among the study patients. No patients developed anti-mapatumumab antibodies. The plasma mapatumumab concentrations observed in this study were consistent with the predicted exposures, based on Phase 1 pharmacokinetic results. None of the 32 treated patients showed a response according to the RECIST criteria. Nine patients (29%) had stable disease (SD).

Conclusion: In a group of heavily pretreated NSCLC patients, no objective single agent activity of mapatumumab was demonstrated, but the drug was safe and well tolerated. Based on this favorable safety profile, and preclinical evidence of potential synergy in combination with agents commonly used to treat NSCLC, future evaluation of mapatumumab in combination with chemotherapy is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2007.12.011DOI Listing
July 2008

Phase 1 and pharmacokinetic study of lexatumumab in patients with advanced cancers.

Clin Cancer Res 2007 Oct;13(20):6187-94

Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.

Purpose: To assess the safety and tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and early evidence of antitumor activity of escalating doses of lexatumumab (HGS-ETR2), a fully human agonistic monoclonal antibody which targets and activates the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand receptor 2 (TRAIL-R2) in patients with advanced solid malignancies.

Experimental Design: In this phase 1, open label study, patients with advanced solid malignancies were treated with escalating doses of lexatumumab administered i.v. over 30 to 120 min every 21 days. A cohort of four patients, which could be expanded to six patients, was studied at each dose level. The dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) dose was defined as the dose at which the incidence of DLT in the first two cycles was >or=33%. The maximum tolerated dose was defined as the highest dose at which <33% of subjects experienced DLT. The pharmacokinetics and immunogenicity of lexatumumab were also characterized. Tumor specimens from historical or current biopsies, when available, were stained for TRAIL-R2 using immunohistochemistry techniques.

Results: Thirty-seven patients received 120 cycles of lexatumumab at doses ranging from 0.1 to 20 mg/kg every 21 days as of May 2006. The 20 mg/kg dose was identified as the DLT dose based on DLTs in three of seven patients treated with this dose; DLTs included asymptomatic elevations of serum amylase, transaminases, and bilirubin. The 10 mg/kg dose cohort was expanded to 12 patients and the 10 mg/kg dose was identified as the maximum tolerated dose. The mean (+/-SD) clearance and apparent terminal half-life values at the 10 mg/kg dose averaged 6.0 (2.9) mL/d/kg and 16.4 (10.9) days, respectively. Twelve patients had durable stable disease that lasted a median of 4.5 months, including three patients with sarcoma having prolonged stable disease (>or=6.7 months). Immunohistochemistry for TRAIL-R2 showed specific staining in >10% of tumor cells for 16 of the 20 evaluable specimens submitted (80%).

Conclusions: Lexatumumab was safe and well tolerated at doses up to and including 10 mg/kg every 21 days. Lexatumumab was associated with sustained stable disease in several patients. Pharmacokinetics were linear over the dose range studied, and consistent with a two-compartment model with first-order elimination from the central compartment. Additional evaluation of this novel apoptosis-inducing agent, particularly in combination with chemotherapy agents, is warranted and ongoing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-07-0950DOI Listing
October 2007

Phase I pharmacokinetic and biologic correlative study of mapatumumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody with agonist activity to tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand receptor-1.

J Clin Oncol 2007 Apr;25(11):1390-5

Institute for Drug Development, Cancer Therapy and Research Center, San Antonio, TX 78229, USAS.

Purpose: To assess the safety, pharmacokinetics, and preliminary evidence of antitumor activity of mapatumumab (HGS-ETR1, TRM-1), a fully human agonist monoclonal antibody directed to the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand receptor-1 (TRAIL-R1).

Patients And Methods: Patients with advanced solid malignancies were treated with escalating doses of mapatumumab intravenously (IV) administered over 30 to 120 minutes, initially as a single dose and then repetitively. Plasma mapatumumab concentrations were measured and serum was assayed to detect human antimapatumumab antibody formation. Archival tumor specimens were collected to detect the presence of TRAIL-R1 by immunohistochemistry.

Results: Forty-nine patients received 158 courses at doses ranging from 0.01 to 10 mg/kg IV. Initially, patients received mapatumumab as a single dose, then every 28 days repetitively, and then 10 mg/kg every 14 days. Mild (grade 1 or 2) fatigue, fever, and myalgia were the most frequently reported nonhematologic adverse events related to mapatumumab, whereas hematologic toxicity was not clinically significant. The mean (+/- standard deviation) clearance and terminal elimination half-life values for mapatumumab at 10 mg/kg every 14 days were 3.7 mL/d/kg (+/- 1.5 mL/d/kg) and 18.8 days (+/- 10.1 days), respectively. TRAIL-R1 was documented in 68% of patients' tumors assayed. Nineteen patients had stable disease, with two lasting 9 months.

Conclusion: Mapatumumab can be administered safely and feasibly at 10 mg/kg IV every 14 days. The absence of severe toxicities and the attainment of plasma mapatumumab concentrations that are active in preclinical models warrant further disease-directed studies of this agent alone and in combination with chemotherapy in a broad array of tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2006.08.8898DOI Listing
April 2007

Chronic administration of belimumab, a BLyS antagonist, decreases tissue and peripheral blood B-lymphocyte populations in cynomolgus monkeys: pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, and toxicologic effects.

Toxicol Sci 2006 Jun 3;91(2):586-99. Epub 2006 Mar 3.

Human Genome Sciences, Inc., Rockville, Maryland 20850, USA.

The tolerability, pharmacodynamic effects, and pharmacokinetics of belimumab (LymphoStat-B) were evaluated in cynomolgus monkeys. Belimumab is a fully human IgG1lambda antibody directed against B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) protein. BLyS is a TNF family member that supports B-lymphocyte maturation and survival and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases and B-lymphocyte malignancies. Belimumab was developed to antagonize BLyS activity in autoimmune diseases and B-lymphocyte malignancies, where undesirable effects of B-lymphocyte activity may cause or contribute to disease. Pharmacodynamic effects of belimumab were monitored by immunophenotyping of peripheral blood. Pathology end points, including tissue immunophenotyping, are described after 13 and 26 weeks of treatment and after a 34-week treatment-free (recovery) period. Belimumab was safe and well tolerated in repeat-dose toxicology studies at 5-50 mg/kg for up to 26 weeks. Monkeys exposed to belimumab had significant decreases in peripheral blood B lymphocytes by 13 weeks of exposure, continuing into the recovery period, despite total lymphocyte counts similar to the controls. There were concomitant decreases in spleen and lymph node B-lymphocyte representation after 13 or 26 weeks of treatment with belimumab. Microscopically, monkeys treated with belimumab for 13 or 26 weeks had decreases in the number and size of lymphoid follicles in the white pulp of the spleen. All findings were generally reversible within a 34-week recovery period. These data confirm the specific pharmacologic activity of belimumab in reducing B lymphocytes in the cynomolgus monkey. The favorable safety profile and lack of treatment-related infections also support continued clinical development of belimumab.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kfj148DOI Listing
June 2006

Osteostat/tumor necrosis factor superfamily 18 inhibits osteoclastogenesis and is selectively expressed by vascular endothelial cells.

Endocrinology 2006 Jan 22;147(1):70-8. Epub 2005 Sep 22.

Human Genome Sciences, Inc., Rockville, Maryland 20850, USA.

Vascular endothelial cells (EC) participate in the process of bone formation through the production of factors regulating osteoclast differentiation and function. In this study, we report the selective expression in primary human microvascular EC of Osteostat/TNF superfamily 18, a ligand of the TNF superfamily. Osteostat protein is detectable in human microvascular EC and is highly up-regulated by IFN-alpha and IFN-beta. Moreover, an anti-Osteostat antibody strongly binds to the vascular endothelium in human tissues, demonstrating that the protein is present in the EC layers surrounding blood vessels. Functional in vitro assays were used to define Osteostat involvement in osteoclastogenesis. Both recombinant and membrane-bound Osteostat inhibit differentiation of osteoclasts from monocytic precursor cells. Osteostat suppresses the early stage of osteoclastogenesis via inhibition of macrophage colony-stimulating factor-induced receptor activator of NF-kappaB (RANK) expression in the osteoclast precursor cells. This effect appears to be specific for the differentiation pathway of the osteoclast lineage, because Osteostat does not inhibit lipopolysaccharide-induced RANK expression in monocytes and dendritic cells, or activation-induced RANK expression in T cells. These findings demonstrate that Osteostat is a novel regulator of osteoclast generation and substantiate the major role played by the endothelium in bone physiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2005-0518DOI Listing
January 2006

Pharmacokinetics and in vitro and in vivo anti-tumor response of an interleukin-2-human serum albumin fusion protein in mice.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2005 Jun 8;54(6):535-47. Epub 2004 Dec 8.

Medtronic Vascular, Santa Rosa, CA, 95403, USA.

Purpose: Albuleukin fusion protein is a recombinant human interleukin-2 (rIL-2) genetically fused to recombinant human serum albumin (rHSA). The pharmacokinetics and pharmacologic activity of Albuleukin were examined in mice to determine whether the fusion protein had the immunomodulatory and anti-tumor properties of rIL-2 as well as a prolonged serum half-life due to the rHSA.

Methods: The effect of Albuleukin on lymphocyte proliferation, IL-2 receptor binding, and release of IFN-gamma from human NK cells were examined in vitro. For the pharmacokinetic analysis, Albuleukin and rIL-2 were administered intravenously (i.v.) and subcutaneously (s.c.) to BALB/c mice, both at a single dose of 500 microg/kg. The anti-tumor properties of Albuleukin were evaluated in a Renca tumor model in BALB/c mice and in a metastatic liver model of B16F10 melanoma in C57B1/6 mice. In the Renca tumor model, BALB/c mice were dosed intraperitoneally (i.p.) and s.c. with Albuleukin on days 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, and 23 and i.p. with rIL-2 daily for two periods of 5 days (days 10-14 and 17-21). In the B16 melanoma model, C57B1/6 mice were dosed s.c. with rIL-2 twice daily or Albuleukin every 48 h for 14 days.

Results: In vitro, Albuleukin induced the proliferation of primary human and mouse T cells and B cells and primary human NK cells, competed with rIL-2 for binding to the IL-2 receptors, and induced the production of IFN-gamma from primary human NK cells. The s.c. bioavailability of Albuleukin was about 45% relative to the i.v. dose. Plasma half-life was prolonged and ranged from 6 to 8 h with Albuleukin, compared to 19-57 min with rIL-2. Total clearance of Albuleukin was about 50-fold slower than that of rIL-2 after i.v. dosing. In vivo, Albuleukin suppressed the growth of Renca tumors and induced a dense infiltration of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Both Albuleukin and rIL-2 significantly reduced the tumor burden in mice with hepatic B16F10 metastases. Albuleukin significantly reduced the incidence of residual macroscopic hepatic tumors, resulting in improved survival relative to controls and rIL-2.

Conclusion: Results from these studies suggest that the therapeutic efficacy of rIL-2 is improved in mice by prolonging its in vivo half-life through genetic fusion to albumin. Albuleukin, the fusion protein, had pronounced anti-tumor effects in Renca and hepatic melanoma tumor models without an increase in mortality. On the basis of its preclinical effects, Albuleukin was brought to the clinic to assess its therapeutic benefit in a variety of cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-004-0624-7DOI Listing
June 2005

Retrospective analysis of implant survival and the influence of periodontal disease and immediate placement on long-term results.

Int J Oral Maxillofac Implants 2004 May-Jun;19(3):393-8

University of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the cumulative survival rates of dental implants placed in a private periodontal practice and the effects of periodontal disease and immediate placement on implant survival.

Materials And Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted on 149 consecutive patients. Each patient had a single implant placed. For the purpose of analysis, patients were divided into 2 groups: those who were periodontally healthy and those who had periodontal disease. Implants were placed into available bone either immediately or after a healing period. All failed implants were removed and recorded. The effects of periodontal status and placement time on implant survival were evaluated using Cox proportional hazards regression and log-rank tests.

Results: Of the 149 implants in the study, 22 failed during the observation period. The 127 censored cases (i.e., implants that had not failed at the end of the observational period) were observed for a mean of 943 days (SD 932, range 35 to 4,030). Failed implants were observed for a mean of 722 days (SD 1,026, range 18 to 3,548). The presence of periodontal disease appeared to be associated with a greater failure rate, but there was no observed effect associated with time of placement. The percentages of censored immediate placement cases and delayed placement cases were nearly identical. Among the 77 implants associated with periodontal disease, placement time was not strongly associated with percentage censored. Forty-three of the 55 immediately placed implants (78.18%) and 18 of the 22 implants (81.18%) whose placement was delayed were censored. Both Cox proportional hazards regression and log-rank tests established that survival was adversely affected by periodontal disease (P < .05) but unaffected by time of placement (P > .50). The lower 1-sided 95% confidence limit for median survival time was 3,548 days for patients without periodontal disease and 1,799 days for patients with disease.

Discussion And Conclusion: Implant survival was compromised by a history of periodontitis but not affected by immediate or delayed placement.
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July 2004

Generation and characterization of LymphoStat-B, a human monoclonal antibody that antagonizes the bioactivities of B lymphocyte stimulator.

Arthritis Rheum 2003 Nov;48(11):3253-65

Human Genome Sciences, Inc., Rockville, Maryland 20850, USA.

Objective: To identify and characterize a fully human antibody directed against B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS), a tumor necrosis factor-related cytokine that plays a critical role in the regulation of B cell maturation and development. Elevated levels of BLyS have been implicated in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases.

Methods: A human phage display library was screened for antibodies against human BLyS. A human monoclonal antibody, LymphoStat-B, specific for human BLyS was obtained from the library screening and subsequent affinity optimization mutagenesis. The antibody was tested for inhibition of human BLyS in vitro and in an in vivo murine model. Additionally, the consequences of BLyS inhibition were tested in vivo by administration of LymphoStat-B to cynomolgus monkeys.

Results: LymphoStat-B bound with high affinity to human BLyS and inhibited the binding of BLyS to its 3 receptors, TACI, BCMA, and BLyS receptor 3/BAFF-R. LymphoStat-B potently inhibited BLyS-induced proliferation of B cells in vitro, and administration of LymphoStat-B to mice prevented human BLyS-induced increases in splenic B cell numbers and IgA titers. In cynomolgus monkeys, administration of LymphoStat-B resulted in decreased B cell representation in both spleen and mesenteric lymph nodes.

Conclusion: A fully human monoclonal antibody has been isolated that binds to BLyS with high affinity and neutralizes human BLyS bioactivity in vitro and in vivo. Administration of this antibody to cynomolgus monkeys resulted in B cell depletion in spleen and lymph node. This antibody may prove therapeutically useful in the treatment of autoimmune diseases in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.11299DOI Listing
November 2003

Albugranin, a recombinant human granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) genetically fused to recombinant human albumin induces prolonged myelopoietic effects in mice and monkeys.

Pharm Res 2002 Nov;19(11):1720-9

Human Genome Sciences, Inc., 9410 Key West Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850, USA.

Purpose: Albugranin fusion protein is recombinant granulocyte colony stimulating factor (rG-CSF) genetically fused at its N-terminus to the C-terminus of recombinant serum human albumin and is expected to have a relatively long half-life compared with rG-CSF alone. In this study, the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of Albugranin were evaluated in BDF1 mice and cynomolgus monkeys.

Methods: Single doses of Albugranin (0.25-5 mg/kg) or Filgrastim (methionyl rG-CSF, 0.25, or 1.25 mg/kg) were administered subcutaneously (SC) to mice and multiple doses of Albugranin (25-100 microg/kg every 4 or 7 days) or Filgrastim (5 microg/kg daily) were administered SC for 14 days to monkeys for hematologic evaluation. For pharmacokinetics studies, mice were injected intravenously (IV) or SC with single doses of Albugranin (0.25-1.25 mg/kg) or Filgrastim (0.25 mg/ kg) and monkeys were injected SC with multiple doses of Albugranin (100-1,000 microg/kg once weekly for 5 weeks). Plasma levels of Albugranin and Filgrastim were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results: In mice, administration of Albugranin effectively increased the number of peripheral granulocytes and mobilized hematopoietic progenitor cells for up to 5 days. The magnitude and duration of this effect were dose-dependent. In contrast, administration of Filgrastim resulted in a small increase in both cell types on day 1 only. Albugranin administered to cynomolgus monkeys caused an increase in peripheral neutrophils, with a less prominent increase in peripheral monocytes. Albugranin-induced neutrophilia peaked 24 h following each dose administration. Administration of Filgrastim daily in monkeys resulted in moderate increases in neutrophils that were maximal on days 8-12 during the course of treatment. Compared with Filgrastim, Albugranin had a longer terminal half-life (t(1/2,term)) and mean residence time (MRT), and slower clearance (CL/F) in mice. The t(1/2,term), MRT, and CL/F of Albugranin following SC administration to BDF1 mice were 5.6-5.7 h, 16.7-20.7 h, and 6.37-12.2 mL/h/kg, respectively, compared with 2.54 h, 4.9 h, and 164 mL/h/kg, respectively for Filgrastim. In cynomolgus monkeys, the corresponding values of t(1/2,term), MRT, and CL/F for Albugranin were 7.73-133 h, 19.4-27.3 h, and 7.90-27.5 mL/h/kg, respectively, for doses of 100-1000 microg/kg. An exposure-response relationship that could be empirically described with a simple Emax model with baseline was found between day 15 absolute neutrophil count and area under the curve following the first dose in cynomolgus monkeys.

Conclusion: The sustained activity of Albugranin in mice and monkeys demonstrated in these studies suggests that this agent could be given less frequently than Filgrastim to achieve similar therapeutic effects in patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/a:1020917732218DOI Listing
November 2002