Sorrento Therapeutics (SRNE) has taken a unique approach to fighting the coronavirus. While most pharma companies taking the good fight to COVID-19 have focused their energies on one area, Sorrento has taken a more scatter gun approach. The biotech is developing a COVID-19 vaccine, a diagnostic test, an antibody test and has several therapeutic candidates.
While it remains to be seen whether the varied method pays off, Dawson James analyst Jason Kolbert believes Sorrento might have a fan, who as they say, has some influence in high places.
During a presidential press conference, “the president mentioned among promising therapeutics a monoclonal-antibody that is 70% effective," Kolbert said. "We spoke with Sorrento afterward and remain optimistic that the company’s mAB is very effective (>70%) and is progressing towards approval.”
Considering Trump has in the past suggested injecting bleach might be an apt treatment for COVID-19, it is open to debate whether such an endorsement amounts to a positive development. Either way, Sorrento has been making progress with its various programs.
The company is working on an antibody cocktail that will be capable of providing 100% protection against a SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection, one which will remain effective even if the virus mutates.
Kolbert believes that through the U.S.'s Project Warp Speed, the cocktail could get a fast track to commercialization.
The target took a step closer to fruition on September 17, when Sorrento got the go ahead from the FDA to proceed with the Phase 1 trial of its COVID-19 neutralizing antibody, code named COVI-Guard (STI-1499).
The antibody demonstrated promising in vitro results as it was able to completely block the SARS-CoV-2 virus, making STI-1499 Sorrento's “lead candidate for potential cost-effective passive protection against COVID-19.”
Additionally, while competitor Eli Lilly is currently further down the line in the COVID-19 neutralizing antibody race, it recently reported positive interim results in a placebo-controlled study of a compound similar to STI-1499. Kolbert believes “the Sorrento antibody could be more potent and manufactured more easily at a larger scale.”
All in all, Kolbert keeps a Buy rating on SRNE shares alongside a $21 price target, which implies a 103% upside from current levels. (To watch Kolbert’s track record, click here)
Only one other analyst is currently keeping a close eye on Sorrento developments, also recommending the stock a Buy. Put together, Sorrento has a Moderate Buy consensus rating backed with a $25.5 price target. Investors are looking at serious upside of 185.5%, should the target be met over the next 12 months. (See SRNE stock analysis on TipRanks)
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