Naratuximab emtansine (Debio 1562), an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) targeting CD37, is a potential new treatment for patients with B-cell malignancies, such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas (NHL). Naratuximab emtansine (Debio 1562) demonstrated evidence of anti-cancer activity in NHL in a Phase 1 monotherapy trial and successfully completed a safety lead-in study in combination with rituximab. The product is currently in phase IIb in relapsed/refractory diffuse large-cell B-cell lymphoma (R/R DLBCL) for which it benefits from Orphan Drug status. Naratuximab emtansine has also shown promising signs of efficacy in Marginal Zone Lymphoma and Follicular Lymphoma and has potential in Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Focus on DLBCL
The most common type of NHL
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common type of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, accounting for 30-40% of cases. Despite improvements in response and survival with standard of care R-CHOP chemotherapy, up to 10% of DLBCL patients have primary refractory disease and up to 40% eventually relapse. In response to this unmet need, recent efforts have focused on the development of new antibodies to improve overall survival by targeting alternative B-cell surface antigens.
Focus on the mode of action
Naratuximab emtansine targets CD37
The CD37 antigen is widely present on the surface of cancerous blood cells in Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL), but absent on normal stem cells and plasma cells. Targeting the CD37 antigen on blood cancer cell surfaces in combination with SOC rituximab can help to promote cancer cell death by specifically delivering the cytotoxic payload DM1. The naratuximab emtansine ADC binds with high affinity and specificity to CD37, obstructing cell proliferation pathways while allowing internalization, processing, and intracellular release of the DM1 payload. As a result of its ability to disrupt microtubule assembly, DM1 subsequently induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis.
Focus on phase II research
Phase II Trial completion in Q1 2021
Debiopharm is currently investigating Debio 1562 in combination with rituximab in patients with R/R DLBCL. The objective of this phase II study of 60 patients is to establish the safety and efficacy profile using two different administration regimen.
May 24, 2017
Debiopharm International SA Enters the Field of Antibody-Drug Conjugates Through Acquisition of Phase II Asset from ImmunoGen