Regeneron lays down the bispecifics at JP Morgan

Regeneron says it can now roll out a lot more bispecific antibody-based therapies including a new class of costimulatory bispecifics.

Regeneron just rejigged its Praluent and Kevzara co-marketing deal with Sanofi. The “simplified” accord was covered at the JP Morgan healthcare conference last week.

However, Regeneron devoted much more of its presentation to bispecific antibodies.

Regeneron spoke at the JP Morgan Conference last week in San Francisco. Image: iStock/bluejayphoto

CEO Len Schleifer told delegates progress made by two bispecific drug candidates – REGN1979 and REGN5458 – were indicative of the utility of its VelocImmune and Veloci-Bi platforms.

“The most important thing about that is not only do we have two drugs already that are looking good in specific diseases. Our drug for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and very early data, but our drug for myeloma, we have validated clinically the platform of our bispecifics.

“We can now roll out lots more bispecifics… we have now started on the journey with a whole new class of bispecifics costim, or costimulatory, bispecifics,” he said.

Costimulatory boost

Bispecific antibodies, as the name suggests, can bind to two different molecular targets.

The idea is that one arm of the antibody attaches to a cancer cell antigen, while the other binds a T cell thereby helping it recognize the cancerous cell.

Regeneron has six bispecific antibodies in clinical trials.

Four of the candidates – REGN1979, REGN5458, REGN5459, REGN4018 – interact with the CD3 receptor on T-cells, while REGN5093 binds the MET receptor on lung cancer cells.

The remaining candidate REGN5678 is a CD28 costimulatory bispecific. The idea – details of which were reported in Science Translational Medicine last week – is that binding CD28 results in a stronger immune response.

Regeneron president and chief scientific officer George Yancopoulos told JP Morgan attendees there is potential to combine these costimulatory bispecifics with CD3 bispecifics, or products like Libtayo (cemiplimab).

“The Science publication demonstrate that these combination approach can drive even more markedly enhance T-cell killing of tumors then just our CD3 bispecifics alone.”

Yancopoulos also highlighted Regeneron’s VELOCI-BI technology, which he said can create and manufactured bispecifics of almost any specificity.

“We use a next-generation Veloclmmune mouse as a source of several distinct classes of bispecifics. And unlike any other bispecific approach ours have no linkers, no artificial sequences, no mutations.

“They are manufactured using the same process such as regular antibodies with no special approaches required and they exhibit similar pharmacokinetics to regular antibodies.”