Shares of Sorrento Therapeutics (SRNE) - Get Report got a booster shot Friday after the biopharma said it is teaming up with New York City's Mount Sinai Health System to develop an "antibody cocktail" that could serve as both a shield against contracting the deadly virus and a treatment for it.
Sorrento's stock price jumped 6.42% to $2.56 a share on news of the team effort, in which the biopharma will harvest plasma from Mount Sinai patients who developed Covid-19 antibodies after contracting and recovering from the virus.
The plasma, gathered from some of the 15,000 people tested by Mount Sinai using a test the hospital developed, will be used to identify and produce "monoclonal antibodies with potential neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2."
The new treatment, dubbed COVI-SHEILD, would use three different antibodies to target "three unique regions of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein," Sorrento and Mount Sinai said in a press statement.
The proposed drug would have a two-fold purpose: acting as a "prophylactic for those returning to work and as a therapeutic to those who have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2," according to the statement.
Each dose would provide protection against the virus for about two months. The aim of the triple-antibody approach is to stay a couple steps ahead of the virus and ensure continued protection as the virus mutates, said Sorrento CEO Dr. Henry Ji.
"This therapy is designed to be resistant to future virus mutations," Dr. Ji said.
Sorrento is wrapping up the application process to push ahead with research and development of the new Covid-19 antibody cocktail under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Investigational New Drug, or IND, program.
Sorrento said it hopes to launch Phase 1 clinical trials of the new drug in the third quarter.