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Why Sorrento Therapeutics’ shares are rising today

What happened

Actions of Sorrento Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SRNE) were up 10.5% at 11:07 am EDT on Tuesday. The big gain came after the company announced late Monday evening of encouraging preclinical data for its experimental therapies with COVID-19 STI-1499 and STI-2020 antibodies.


Sorrento announced that both experimental antibody therapies have shown robust neutralizing activity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in preclinical testing with Syrian golden hamsters. On the fifth day following treatment, a 500 microgram dose of STI-2020 reduced the viral load in the lungs to undetectable levels in 100% of the tested hamsters. A 2,000 microgram dose of STI-1

499 reduced the viral load to below detectable levels in 60% of the tested hamsters. It also achieved a tenfold reduction in the remaining 40% of hamsters in the preclinical study.

Gloved hand stopping the spelling of wooden domains

Image source: Getty Images.

How good were these results? In a statement, Sorrento CEO Henry Ji said that “STI-2020 is our most promising SARS-CoV-2 antibody to date.” He added that the experimental therapy “has the potential to be used for both early and late therapeutic interventions, as well as for prophylaxis.”

Today’s news understandably provided a good boost for the biotech stock. But it is important to remember that these were only preclinical findings. Sorrento still has a long way to go before it can definitively prove that STI-2020 or STI-1499 is safe and effective in treating patients with COVID-19.

Now what

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already given the green light to Sorrento to begin a Phase 1 study to evaluate STI-1499 in the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. But with promising preclinical data announced today, STI-2020 appears to have even greater potential for success. Sorrento said it plans to apply for FDA approval to begin a phase 1 study of STI-2020 “as soon as possible.”

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