Sorrento moves forward with COVID-19 prophylactic drug

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

June 5, 2020 -- Sorrento has completed preclinical testing of STI-4398 (COVIDTRAP), reporting positive results on the protein's ability to neutralize and inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 virus from infecting angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2)-expressing Vero/E6 cells.

Since the beginning of 2020, Sorrento has been working on therapies against SARS-CoV-2 using a multipronged approach. On May 15, the company announced positive preclinical results from its neutralizing antibody, STI-1499, against SARS-CoV-2 infection. The biologic is pending additional preclinical and clinical studies.

Now, the company believes that STI-4398, a proprietary ACE2-Fc fusion protein, can potently bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and act as a decoy receptor protein to block viral binding. In vitro assays reveal that STI-4398 inhibited the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to infect Vero/E6 cells at a low concentration.

Sorrento has discussed the development of the drug candidate with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and has received guidance on a path forward to a clinical trial for COVIDTRAP as a potential prophylactic treatment for COVID-19.

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