Healthcare Business

Why Sorrento Therapeutic's Antibody Breakthrough Is Huge

Chris Lange

Sorrento Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SRNE) shares jumped to start the week after the company announced that its COVID-19 antibody treatment had a positive showing. Specifically, the anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody, STI-1499, demonstrated 100% inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection in an in vitro virus infection experiment at a very low antibody concentration.

The company recently announced that it aims to generate an antibody cocktail product that would act as a “protective shield” against SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection and remain effective even if virus mutations render a single antibody therapy less effective over time.

Sorrento has been diligently screening billions of antibodies in its proprietary G-MAB fully human antibody library and has so far identified hundreds of antibody candidates that bind the S1 subunit of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein. Roughly, one dozen of these antibodies have demonstrated the ability to block the S1 protein’s interaction with human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the receptor used for viral entrance into human cells.

Out of all the antibodies that demonstrated neutralizing activity, one antibody stood out for its ability to completely block SARS-CoV-2 infection of healthy cells in the experiments. STI-1499 completely neutralized the virus infectivity at a very low antibody dose, making it a prime candidate for further testing and development. Initial biochemical and biophysical analyses also indicate STI-1499 is a potentially strong antibody drug candidate.

Dr. Henry Ji, board chair and chief executive of Sorrento, commented:

Our STI-1499 antibody shows exceptional therapeutic potential and could potentially save lives following receipt of necessary regulatory approvals. We at Sorrento are working day and night to complete the steps necessary to get this product candidate approved and available to the waiting public.

Sorrento stock traded up over 23% Monday to $8.28, in a 52-week range of $1.39 to $10.00. The consensus price target is $22.50.