Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:SRNE) issued a press release announcing that its proprietary ACE2-Fc decoy protein, COVIDTRAP™ (STI-4398), demonstrated in pre-clinical studies its ability to completely inhibit SARS-CoV-2 virus infection in vitro at a low concentration. On this information SRNE stock immediately went up 15%
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Since the beginning of the year, Sorrento has embarked on a multipronged strategy to search for and develop potent antidotes to the SARS-CoV-2 virus of COVID-19. Sorrento previously announced on May 15, 2020 that it had identified a neutralizing antibody, STI-1499, that demonstrated 100% inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection in an in vitro infection experiment at a low concentration. Sorrento believes STI-1499 could be a potent antidote for COVID-19 pending successful demonstration of its safety and efficacy in pre-clinical and clinical studies.
Consistent with the ambition outlined above in searching for and developing potential COVID-19 antidotes, Sorrento previously announced on March 20, 2020 that it had designed and produced its STI-4398 product candidate, a proprietary ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2)-Fc fusion protein (COVIDTRAP), as a binding protein to the spike protein of the SARS-Cov-2 virus. The goal of STI-4398 is to produce a soluble SARS-CoV-2 virus-binding decoy receptor protein that binds to the spike protein and blocks the interaction of the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus with the ACE2 receptors present on the target respiratory epithelial cells. Sorrento is now reporting that in an in vitro assay, STI-4398 completely inhibited the ability of SARS-CoV-2 virus to infect VERO/E6 cells at a low concentration.
Sorrento has discussed with the Food and Drug Administration the development of this drug candidate and has received guidance on the path forward to a clinical trial for STI-4398, COVIDTRAP, for both the potential treatment of infected patients and as a potential prophylactic treatment to COVID-19.
“STI-4398 COVIDTRAP protein and STI-1499 neutralizing antibody have shown efficacy in an in vitro cellular infection model for SARS-CoV-2 established in our laboratory and these results justify now the progression into animal studies. We are planning to submit all preclinical data for scientific publication in the next two to three months.” stated Dr. Slobodan Paessler, DVM, PhD, Professor in the Department of Pathology, John S. Dunn Distinguished Chair in Biodefense and Scientific Director of the Animal Biosafety Laboratory 3 at the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch, whose lab conducted the in vitro viral infection tests for both STI-1499 and STI-4398.
“Our researchers and manufacturing scientists have worked tirelessly to bring COVIDTRAP through preclinical profiling to the brink of clinical trials. We look forward to evaluating the safety and efficacy of STI-4398 in clinical trials and, assuming receipt of all requisite approvals, ultimately manufacturing this potentially life-saving compound as a potent anti-COVID-19 antidote available in the armamentarium of physicians fighting the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Dr. Henry Ji, Chairman and CEO of Sorrento Therapeutics.