IgE-neutralizing UB-221 mAb, distinct from omalizumab and ligelizumab, exhibits CD23-mediated IgE-downregulation and relieves urticaria symptoms

Over the last 2 decades, omalizumab is the only anti-IgE antibody that has been approved for asthma and chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU). Ligelizumab, a higher-affinity anti-IgE mAb and the only rival viable candidate in late-stage clinical trials, showed anti-CSU efficacy superior to that of omalizumab in phase IIb but not in phase III. This report features the antigenic-functional characteristics of UB-221, an anti-IgE mAb of a newer class that is distinct from omalizumab and ligelizumab. UB-221, in free form, bound abundantly to CD23-occupied IgE and, in oligomeric mAb-IgE complex forms, freely engaged CD23, while ligelizumab reacted limitedly and omalizumab stayed inert toward CD23; these observations are consistent with UB-221 outperforming ligelizumab and omalizumab in CD23-mediated downregulation of IgE production. UB-221 bound IgE with a strong affinity to prevent FcԑRI-mediated basophil activation and degranulation, exhibiting superior IgE-neutralizing activity to that of omalizumab. UB-221 and ligelizumab bound cellular IgE and effectively neutralized IgE in sera of patients with atopic dermatitis with equal strength, while omalizumab lagged behind. A single UB-221 dose administered to cynomolgus macaques and human IgE (ε, κ)–knockin mice could induce rapid, pronounced serum-IgE reduction. A single UB-221 dose administered to patients with CSU in a first-in-human trial exhibited durable disease symptom relief in parallel with a rapid reduction in serum free-IgE level.