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Sorrento Shares Double on Claim of a Potential Breakthrough Virus Drug

Sorrento Therapeutics says that preliminary lab-research results may have zeroed in on a breakthrough drug for the coronavirus.

Sorrento Therapeutics  (SRNE) - Get Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. Report shares as much as doubled as the biopharma company said it was zeroing in on a potential breakthrough drug to treat the coronavirus.

The San Diego biopharma said in a statement that in laboratory research, a new treatment provides "100%  inhibition" of SARS-CoV-2.

Sorrento contends it has found a particularly effective antibody after screening out billions of candidates. 

"Among the antibodies showing neutralizing activity, one antibody stood out for its ability to completely block SARS-CoV-2 infection of healthy cells in the experiments," the company said in a statement. 

"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."

Still, Sorrento's findings are still awaiting peer review by other scientists and the research has not been tested on human beings, according to reports.

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Sorrento wants to convert its research into a drug separate from another treatment it is now developing, Covid-Shield, an "antibody cocktail" that features a mix of different antibodies.

Sorrento says a separate drug based on the newly discovered STI-1499 antibody could be developed and made available before a vaccine hits the market.

"We want to emphasize there is a cure," Dr. Henry Ji, Sorrento's chief executive, told Fox News. 

"There is a solution that works 100%. If we have the neutralizing antibody in your body, you don't need the social distancing. You can open up society without fear."

A spokesperson for Sorrento was not immediately available for comment.

Separately, Sorrento last week said it planned to team up with Mount Sinai Health System to develop an "antibody cocktail" that could be used to both prevent coronavirus infections as well as treat those who have become ill.

Sorrento shares at last check traded up 80% at $4.71. They've traded today as high as $5.33, more than twice Thursday's close at $2.62.