Characterization of ABBV-221, a Tumor-Selective EGFR-Targeting Antibody Drug Conjugate Academic Article uri icon


  • Depatuxizumab mafodotin (depatux-m, ABT-414) is a tumor-selective antibody drug conjugate (ADC) comprised of the anti-EGFR antibody ABT-806 and the monomethyl auristatin F (MMAF) warhead. Depatux-m has demonstrated promising clinical activity in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) patients and is currently being evaluated in clinical trials in first-line and recurrent GBM disease settings. Depatux-m responses have been restricted to patients with amplified EGFR, highlighting the need for therapies with activity against tumors with nonamplified EGFR overexpression. In addition, depatux-m dosing has been limited by corneal side effects common to MMAF conjugates. We hypothesized that a monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE) ADC utilizing an EGFR-targeting antibody with increased affinity may have broader utility against tumors with more modest EGFR overexpression while mitigating the risk of corneal side effects. We describe here preclinical characterization of ABBV-221, an EGFR-targeting ADC comprised of an affinity-matured ABT-806 conjugated to MMAE. ABBV-221 binds to a similar EGFR epitope as depatux-m and retains tumor selectivity with increased binding to EGFR-positive tumor cells and greater in vitro potency. ABBV-221 displays increased tumor uptake and antitumor activity against wild-type EGFR-positive xenografts with a greatly reduced incidence of corneal side effects relative to depatux-m. ABBV-221 has similar activity as depatux-m against an EGFR-amplified GBM patient derived xenograft (PDX) model and is highly effective alone and in combination with standard-of-care temozolomide in an EGFRvIII-positive GBM xenograft model. Based on these results, ABBV-221 has advanced to a phase I clinical trial in patients with advanced solid tumors associated with elevated levels of EGFR. Mol Cancer Ther; 17(4); 795-805. ©2018 AACR.


  • Phillips, Andrew C
  • Boghaert, Erwin R
  • Vaidya, Kedar S
  • Falls, Hugh D
  • Mitten, Michael J
  • DeVries, Peter J
  • Benatuil, Lorenzo
  • Hsieh, Chung-Ming
  • Meulbroek, Jonathan A
  • Panchal, Sanjay C
  • Buchanan, Fritz G
  • Durbin, Kenneth R
  • Voorbach, Martin J
  • Reuter, David R
  • Mudd, Sarah R
  • Loberg, Lise I
  • Ralston, Sherry L
  • Cao, Diana
  • Gan, Hui K
  • Scott, Andrew M
  • Reilly, Edward B

publication date

  • 2018