In a May 26 research note, Dawson James analyst Jason Kolbert reported that Sorrento Therapeutics Inc.'s (SRNE:NASDAQ) "STI-1499 (antibody) has demonstrated in early data a 100% inhibition of the SARS-CoV-2 virus infection of healthy cells after four days of incubation."
He added that "we see a significant market opportunity in treating frontline workers (doctors, nurses and other mission critical personnel, as well as occupants of military ships at sea) to prevent and treat COVID infection."
The California-based biotech aims to create an antibody cocktail against SARS-CoV-2 infection, which would still be effective if virus mutations occur. Kolbert reviewed Sorrento's progress in this regard.
After examining billions of antibodies, the company singled out one, STI-1499, from a group that in early tests showed they bound to the S1 subunit of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and entirely blocked their interaction with the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which is the receptor that the virus uses to enter human cells.
Kolbert added that STI-1499 works at a very low dose, meaning Sorrento potentially could quickly scale up to millions of treatments at a low cost. In fact, the company said that it could initially produce up to 200,000 doses each month. While it currently plans to produce 1 million doses, management said it could produce tens of millions of doses in a short time period to meet the great demand.
Consequently, Sorrento intends to develop STI-1499 as part of an antibody cocktail it calls COVI-SHIELD. The next step is getting it evaluated and reviewed on a fast tracked basis. The biotech expects to soon discuss with regulators the best pathway for doing so.
"Through the U.S.'s Project Warp Speed, it's possible we could see STI-1499 move rapidly to commercialization," commented Kolbert. The estimated market potential for it, he said, is about $4 billion, assuming 1 million doses at a price under $4,000, which is that of remdesivir, Gilead's COVID-19 antiviral.
In addition to COVI-SHIELD, Sorrento is developing nonopioid pain management therapies through Scilex as its 58% owner. One is resiniferatoxin for treatment of knee pain from osteoarthritis, terminal cancer and replacement deferment. Pivotal studies for this toxin, which ablates nerves that cause chronic, inflammatory pain, are expected this year.
Another of Sorrento's clinical-stage pain management therapeutics is Scilex SP-102, which is an epidural steroid injection for the treatment of sciatica pain. Phase 3 data are expected later in 2020.
Dawson James has a Buy rating and a $24 per share target price on Sorrento Therapeutics. Its current share price is about $5.06.[NLINSERT]
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Disclosures for Dawson James Securities, Sorrento Therapeutics, May 26, 2020
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