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May 30, 2017
Antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) are no longer an unknown entity in the field of cancer therapy with the success of marketed ADCs like ADCETRIS and KADCYLA and numerous others advancing through clinical trials. The pursuit of novel cytotoxic payloads beyond the mictotubule inhibitors and DNA damaging agents has led us to the recent discovery of an mRNA splicing inhibitor, thailanstatin, as a potent ADC payload. In our previous work, we observed that the potency of this payload was uniquely tied to the method of conjugation, with lysine conjugates showing much superior potency as compared to cysteine conjugates. However, the ADC field is rapidly shifting towards site-specific ADCs due to their advantages in manufacturability, characterization and safety. In this work we report the identification of a highly efficacious site-specific thailanstatin ADC. The site of conjugation played a critical role on both the in vitro and in vivo potency of these ADCs. During the course of this study, we developed a novel methodology of loading a single site with multiple payloads using an in situ generated multi-drug carrying peptidic linker that allowed us to rapidly screen for optimal conjugation sites. Using this methodology, we were able to identify a double-cysteine mutant ADC delivering four-loaded thailanstatin that was very efficacious in a gastric cancer xenograft model at 3mg/kg and was also shown to be efficacious against T-DM1 resistant and MDR1 overexpressing tumor cell lines.