Inhibition of complement C1s in patients with cold agglutinin disease: lessons learned from a named patient program

Georg Gelbenegger, Christian Schoergenhofer, Ulla Derhaschnig, Nina Buchtele, Christian Sillaber, Michael Fillitz, Thomas M Schenk, Shirley D'Sa, Ronwyn Cartwright, James C Gilbert, Bernd Jilma, Ulrich Jaeger
Blood Advances 2020 March 24, 4 (6): 997-1005
Cold agglutinin disease (CAD) causes predominantly extravascular hemolysis and anemia via complement activation. Sutimlimab is a novel humanized monoclonal antibody directed against classical pathway complement factor C1s. We aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of long-term maintenance treatment with sutimlimab in patients with CAD. Seven CAD patients treated with sutimlimab as part of a phase 1B study were transitioned to a named patient program. After a loading dose, patients received biweekly (once every 2 weeks) infusions of sutimlimab at various doses. When a patient's laboratory data showed signs of breakthrough hemolysis, the dose of sutimlimab was increased. Three patients started with a dose of 45 mg/kg, another 3 with 60 mg/kg, and 1 with a fixed dose of 5.5 g every other week. All CAD patients responded to re-treatment, and sutimlimab increased hemoglobin from a median initial level of 7.7 g/dL to a median peak of 12.5 g/dL (P = .016). Patients maintained near normal hemoglobin levels except for a few breakthrough events that were related to underdosing and which resolved after the appropriate dose increase. Four of the patients included were eventually treated with a biweekly 5.5 g fixed-dose regimen of sutimlimab. None of them had any breakthrough hemolysis. All patients remained transfusion free while receiving sutimlimab. There were no treatment-related serious adverse events. Overlapping treatment with erythropoietin, rituximab, or ibrutinib in individual patients was safe and did not cause untoward drug interactions. Long-term maintenance treatment with sutimlimab was safe, effectively inhibited hemolysis, and significantly increased hemoglobin levels in re-exposed, previously transfusion-dependent CAD patients.

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