ARTICLE ABSTRACTThe costimulatory receptor CD137 (also known as TNFRSF9 or 4-1BB) sustains effective cytotoxic T-cell responses. Agonistic anti-CD137 cancer immunotherapies are being investigated in clinical trials. Development of the first-generation CD137-agonist monotherapies utomilumab and urelumab was unsuccessful due to low antitumor efficacy mediated by the epitope recognized on CD137 or hepatotoxicity mediated by Fcγ receptors (FcγR) ligand–dependent CD137 activation, respectively. M9657 was engineered as a tetravalent bispecific antibody (mAb2) in a human IgG1 backbone with LALA mutations to reduce binding to FCγRs. Here, we report that M9657 selectively binds to mesothelin (MSLN) and CD137 with similar affinity in humans and cynomolgus monkeys. In a cellular functional assay, M9657 enhanced CD8+ T cell–mediated cytotoxicity and cytokine release in the presence of tumor cells, which was dependent on both MSLN expression and T-cell receptor/CD3 activation. Both FS122m, a murine surrogate with the same protein structure as M9657, and chimeric M9657, a modified M9657 antibody with the Fab portion replaced with an anti-murine MSLN motif, demonstrated in vivo antitumor efficacy against various tumors in wild-type and human CD137 knock-in mice, and this was accompanied by activated CD8+ T-cell infiltration in the tumor microenvironment. The antitumor immunity of M9657 and FS122m depended on MSLN expression density and the mAb2 structure. Compared with 3H3, a murine surrogate of urelumab, FS122m and chimeric M9657 displayed significantly lower on-target/off-tumor toxicity. Taken together, M9657 exhibits a promising profile for development as a tumor-targeting immune agonist with potent anticancer activity without systemic immune activation and associated hepatotoxicity.