Rescue Therapy With the Human Anti-CD38 Antibody MOR202 (Felzartamab) in Patients With Membranous Nephropathy Who Failed Anti-CD20 Target Therapy

  • End date
    Oct 19, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research
Updated on 22 December 2021
monoclonal antibodies


Membranous nephropathy (MN) - the leading cause of nephrotic syndrome (NS) in adults - is an immune-mediated disease that results from the deposition of immunoglobulins and complement components onto the sub-epithelial layer of the glomerular capillary wall. The availability for clinical use of rituximab, a monoclonal antibody against the B-cell surface antigen CD20, offered the opportunity to test the effects of specific CD20-targeted intervention aimed to prevent B-cell dependent mechanisms resulting in the production of nephritogenic autoantibodies. Rituximab-induced B-cell depletion reduced proteinuria in eight patients with MN while avoiding the adverse effects of steroids and other immunosuppressants. Subsequent studies confirmed that rituximab is remarkably safer than non-specific immunosuppressive agents, including cyclosporine, and achieves remission in approximately two-thirds of patients with MN-associated nephrotic syndrome. After rituximab-induced remission, however, NS may relapse in approximately one third of patients. Thus, novel therapeutic options are needed for a substantial proportion of patients with MN who may fail rituximab therapy. Conceivably, in patients with MN refractory to CD20-targeted therapy, the production of nephritogenic autoantibodies is sustained by mechanisms that do not depend on autoreactive CD20+ B cells.

Recently, it was shown that CD19-negative bone marrow plasma cells, which express CD38, are enriched in chronically inflamed tissue and secrete autoantibodies. Treatment of patients with MN with CD38-targeting antibodies may represent a new therapeutic approach.

MOR202 is a fully human recombinant monoclonal antibody against CD38 that has demonstrated in-vitro and in-vivo efficacy in experimental models of multiple myeloma. Antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis are the principal mechanisms of action for MOR202-induced lysis of myeloma cells.

The working hypothesis is that CD38-targeted therapy with MOR202 may abrogate autoantibody-dependent mechanisms in patients with plasma-cell mediated forms of MN who failed previous treatment with rituximab and second-generation anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies such as ofatumumab. With this background, MOR202 therapy may have an indication for patients with MN and NS resistant to CD20 targeted therapy.

Condition Membranous Nephropathy
Treatment MOR202
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04893096
SponsorMario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research
Last Modified on22 December 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Age ≥18 years
Biopsy-proven membranous nephropathy with or without detectable circulating anti-PLA2R or anti-THSD7A antibodies
Background treatment with RAS blocking agents (ACE inhibitor and/or ARBs), at maximum tolerated doses and adequately controlled blood pressure (BP <140/90 mmHg in at least three consecutive readings at screening)
One condition between
Anti-CD20 Resistance: residual proteinuria ≥3.5 g/day (mean of three consecutive 24-hour urine collections), with less than 50% reduction compared to pre-treatment values at least 12 months after anti-CD20 antibody therapy
Anti-CD20 Dependence: frequently relapsing NS (nephrotic-range proteinuria for >50% of time in the last five years or since disease onset, whichever is shorter) despite repeated treatments with anti-CD20 antibodies
Estimated GFR >30 ml/min/1.73m2 (CKD-EPI equation) and less than 50% of sclerotic glomeruli in patients receiving renal biopsy
A minimum 12-month wash-out from last anti-CD20 therapy with rituximab and/or other monoclonal antibodies
No significant (i.e. more than 2 weeks) immunosuppressive therapy over the last 6 months
Written informed consent

Exclusion Criteria

Intolerance to rituximab without rescue therapy with other humanized anti-CD20 antibodies
Clinically relevant neutropenia (neutrophils < 1.5 x 109/L), anemia (Hb levels <9.0 g/dL), thrombocytopenia (platelet count < 150.000/mm3), hypogammaglobulinemia (serum immunoglobulin ≤5.0 g/L), increased liver transaminase or bilirubin levels (total bilirubin, aspartate aminotransferase or alanine aminotransferase >1.5 x ULN, alkaline phosphatase >3.0 x ULN)
Significant uncontrolled cardiovascular disease (including arterial or venous thrombotic or embolic events over the last three months) or cardiac insufficiency (New York Heart Association [NYHA] class IV) as judged by the investigator
Clinically relevant findings on a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) as determined by the investigator at screening
History of significant cerebrovascular disease (stroke or transitory ischemic attack over the last three months) or sensory or motor neuropathy of toxicity ≥ grade 3
Any clinical condition that in the investigator judgment could affect the possibility to complete the study or could have a major confounding effect on study findings and data interpretation
Any active viral, bacterial or fungal infection
Serologic or virologic markers positive for HIV, hepatitis C (patients with positive antihepatitis C virus [anti-HCV] antibody but negative HCV RNA polymerase chain reaction [PCR] can enroll) or active or latent hepatitis B (patients with positive hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg] are excluded). For patients with isolated positive hepatitis B core antibody [anti-HBc], hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA test by PCR must be non-detectable to enroll)
History of malignancy within the prior 5 years
Participation in other clinical trials within 4 weeks of signing the consent form
Pregnancy or breast-feeding
Childbearing potential in males and females non using an effective method of contraception according to 2014 CTFG Recommendations related to contraception and pregnancy testing in clinical trials (accessedat:"<> Groups/C FG/2014_09_HMA_CTFG_Contraception.pdf")
Legal incapacity or limited legal capacity
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