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Development of Novel Glucocorticoids for Use in Antibody–Drug Conjugates for the Treatment of Inflammatory Diseases

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posted on 11.08.2021, 15:07 authored by Amy Han, Olav Olsen, Christopher D’Souza, Jing Shan, Feng Zhao, Jean Yanolatos, Zaruhi Hovhannisyan, Sokol Haxhinasto, Frank Delfino, William Olson
Glucocorticoids (GCs) are widely used to treat a variety of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases; however, systemic delivery of GCs is associated with side effects that affect essentially every organ system, reflecting the nearly ubiquitous expression of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). Targeted delivery of GCs to diseased tissues using antibody-glucocorticoid conjugates (GC-ADCs) offers a therapeutic alternative to overcome these adverse effects. Herein, we describe novel classes of GCs that exhibited greater potency than dexamethasone and budesonide, a 100-fold selectivity toward the GR over other nuclear receptors, and no in vitro safety liability in pharmacology assays (hERG, AMES) and that demonstrated a substantial reduction in tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) release in mice challenged with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The site-specific conjugated GC-ADCs via cathepsin-cleavable linkers were highly stable in plasma and specifically released GCs in antigen-positive cells, suggesting that these novel GCs can serve as ADC payloads to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.