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Sorrento Up on Request for Emergency Authorization for Covid Test

Sorrento Therapeutics jumped after the biopharma said it applied for FDA emergency-use authorization for its covid-19 test.
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Sorrento Therapeutics  (SRNE) - Get Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. Report shares jumped after the biopharma said it had applied  to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency-use authorization for its covid-19 test.

The stock recently traded at $8.80, up 22%. It had well more than doubled year to date amid optimism about its covid efforts.

The test is called Covi-Stix. “In testing conducted to date, Covi-Stix has provided results within 15 minutes, with positive detection as quickly as two minutes for patient samples with high viral load,” Sorrento said in a statement.

The company focuses on antibody-centric therapies to treat cancers. It’s also developing potential antiviral therapies and vaccines against coronaviruses.

Last month, Sorrento received a $34 million government contract to develop a coronavirus protection and/or treatment.

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The contract goes to its SmartPharm Therapeutics unit and comes from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense.

The money will pay for development through Phase 2 clinical studies of a gene-encoded antibody (Gene MAb), Sorrento said.

The company said it will “seek further funding in support of the covid Gene MAb program toward [emergency use authorization] approval and large-scale manufacturing pending successful clinical studies.”

“For this Gene MAb approach, the SmartPharm/Sorrento team will produce plasmid DNA encoding the SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody STI-2020 (Covi-Amg),” the company said.

“Such an approach would permit the rapid translation of fully characterized potent neutralizing antibodies into clinical use, which Sorrento believes will be important for responding to potential mutations of SARS-CoV-2 that may emerge," Sorrento said. 

"It would also enable broader deployment of the Gene MAb approach as a prophylactic solution.”