Sorrento Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SRNE) is actively working on new antibody therapeutics that it foresees will be a powerful weapon against COVID-19.
The biopharmaceutical company was granted a USD34 Million contract from DARPA co-funded by JPEO in order to cultivate an intramuscular injection that sends gene-encoded neutralizing antibodies against Covid-19 as well as its variant strains. The prize was awarded to the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary SmartPharmTherapeutics, successfully funding further progress amid a phase 2 clinical study.
Through its ups and downs, Sorrento’s stock price has fluctuated immensely throughout 2020. At the start of the year the company’s stock was trading for just USD1.55 per share, however amid promising findings, the stock surged to as high as USD19.39. Nevertheless, the stock has currently fallen to about USD7.60 per share.
Manufacturing of the company’s neutralizing antibody STI-2020 in protein form has commenced with expectations to produce 100,000 doses by early 2021. If favorable, the antibody encoded plasmid DNA injection would potentially be another option in battling the deadly virus for months if not more time. Additionally, the new solution can be a positive therapeutic for those who do not tolerate vaccines well like the elderly or immunocompromised.
Scientific director of the Animal Biosafety Laboratory 3 at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Dr. Slobodan Paessler, has been analyzing Sorrento Therapeutics antibodies within hamsters since the start of the year as a means of contributing in the search for product candidates.
“My studies have shown that hamsters infected with the Covid-19 virus develop severe lung and nose infections but when treated with the COVI-DROPS all tissue damage and signs of the disease is prevented. It is an exciting discovery and Sorrento has a good right to be hopeful,” he said.
“If you think of how such a nose drop can allow a patient to treat themselves at home you can see the huge advantage.”