Comparative assessment of immune complex-mediated hypersensitivity reactions with biotherapeutics in the non-human primate: Critical parameters, safety and lessons for future studies

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With the emergence of novel biotherapeutic formats and immunostimulatory biotherapeutics in cancer immunotherapy, an understanding of immune-complex (IC) mediated hypersensitivity reactions in toxicology studies - and their differentiation from pharmacology - remains key to the preclinical evaluation of these drugs. In this review we provide an in-depth evaluation and comparison of case examples where IC-mediated hypersensitivity reactions were observed in cynomolgus monkeys. We provide details of the parameters evaluated in each study to substantiate and guide the interpretation of these findings. Five study cases (1 therapeutic protein, 4 monoclonal antibodies) are discussed for which effects ranged from minor to fatal. Common characteristics are the high incidence of clinical signs, detectable antidrug antibodies, and accelerated drug clearance up to virtual loss of exposure. In our experience, measurement of cytokine levels in vivo and detection of complement (split products) were supportive markers in situations where coagulopathy was suspected to play a role in the observed effects. Recommendations are outlined to prepare for root-cause analysis of suspected hypersensitivity reactions. Overall, a thorough analysis of the findings has helped to start clinical trials despite major findings. The hypersensitivity reactions with our human(ized) immunoglobulins have not proven to be predictive for humans.HIGHLIGHTSImmune complex-mediated hypersensitivity in non-human primates proved diverse.The huge heterogeneity of findings within study groups requires a holistic assessment.Dedicated evaluation for e.g. immune complex deposits helped with root cause analysis.Findings did not translate into clinics, but required risk mitigation practices.Points to consider for future toxicology studies are proposed.

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