Sorrento Therapeutics on COVID-19 Therapy Competition: “Our Antibody Is Better Than Theirs”

In this video from Motley Fool Live recorded on Nov. 12, executives from Sorrento Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SRNE) discuss the company’s therapeutic antibodies to treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Mark Brunswick, senior vice president of regulatory affairs at Sorrento, claims that the company’s antibodies are better than the ones being developed by Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) and Regeneron (NASDAQ:REGN). Henry Ji, chairman, president, and CEO of Sorrento, explains how the company engineered the antibodies to remove the likelihood of antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), a phenomenon in which the antibody binding to the virus enhances the entry of the virus into the cell.

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Brian Orelli: Antibodies that can bind directly to the coronavirus and block the ability of the virus to infect other cells. We’ll start with the STI-1499 which is called COVI-GUARD. It’s in a phase 1 study in 33 patients. What’s the time frame for having data from that study?

Mark Brunswick: That, we anticipate roughly the same timeline [by the end of January].

Brian Orelli: Your competitor’s neutralizing antibodies appear to work best in patients that are in early stage. You’re testing patients that are already in the hospital. Are you concerned about that?

Mark Brunswick: No.

Brian Orelli: Why not?

Mark Brunswick: Because we think our antibody is better than theirs. Also, it was a requirement of the FDA initially to go into sicker patients rather than the less sick patients.

Henry Ji: The other thing is if you look at it, Brian, the issue is other neutralizing antibody, when they get the patient in the hospital settings […] they have safety issues. We engineered very carefully to get rid of the antibody-dependent enhancement which our antibody, 1499 2020 — all engineered. That means we’re going to be avoiding the ADE. So that potentially could be a differentiating factors, our antibody from other antibody.

Brian Orelli: Then you’ve got a steady upcoming in Brazil in couples. I thought it was an interesting design where you can get data for both treatment and prevention. Can you talk about that study a little bit?

Henry Ji: Mark.

Mark Brunswick: Yes. What we’re doing is we’re treating patients. There’s a treatment for an infected patient, prevent their partner from coming down with the disease. That’s a study that no one else is doing. We think it’s a very important study to do.

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