A novel bispecific antibody format was applied to generate T cell-engaging antibodies. The TriFab format is a trivalent IgG-shaped entity composed of two Fab arms that bind to antigens on the surface of tumor cells, which are linked via flexible peptides to a CD3 binding moiety that replaces the CH2 domains of conventional IgGs. The distinctive feature of these T cell recruiting bispecifics is that their CD3 variable regions are incorporated between domains, rather than N- or C-terminally fused to an Fc or antibody fragments. T cell recruiting TriFabs resemble in size and shape, are expressed and show biophysical properties similar to regular IgGs. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) demonstrates high flexibility of the cell surface binding arms as well as target antigen accessibility of the interspersed CD3 binding domain. Functional co-culturing assays of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and different tumor cell lines (MCF7 and A431) revealed a dose-dependent T cell-mediated cytotoxicity that was induced by the TriFabs targeting either LeY or EGFR cell surface antigens.
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