San Diego, California, based Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc, a late-stage clinical oncology company developing new treatments for cancer and its associated pain, has received two NIH small business grants which will fund the development of bispecific antibodies for two of its anti-bacterial immunotherapies. The company’s highly diverse, fully human G-MAB® library and proprietary antibody conjugation technology platforms have broad applications beyond oncology, including other therapeutic areas such as anti-infectives and auto-immune diseases.

Sorrento was awarded a Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the National Institute of health (NIH), which will support the advanced preclinical development of human bispecific antibody therapeutics to prevent and treat Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus or Staph) infections, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The company’s anti-MRSA program specifically targets auto-inducing peptides or AIPs central to the quorum sensing system of S. aureus that controls toxin production. Neutralizing these AIPs has been shown to disrupt bacterial communication (quorum quenching) and to mitigate Staph infections. The academic partner for this STTR grant is Jovanka Voyich-Kane, PhD, an assistant professor for Immunology & Infectious Diseases at Montana State University, a well-known expert in Staph infection models. The funds available under this grant are approximately $1 million per year for up to 2 years. In 2010, Sorrento obtained an exclusive license from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) to the quorum quenching technology, the scientific foundation for this program.

In addition, Sorrento was awarded a Phase I STTR grant from NIAID which will support the preclinical development of novel anti-Pseudomonas aeruginosa mAb immunotherapy or an antibody-mediated targeted antibiotic delivery vehicle. Each modality may be an effective and safe stand-alone therapy and/or a component of a cocktail therapeutic option for prevention and treatment of P. aeruginosa infections. The academic partner for this STTR grant is Dr. Daniel Wozniak, PhD at The Ohio State University, an eminent expert in Pseudomonas infection models. The funds available under this grant are approximately $300,000 per year for up to 2 years.

“While Sorrento’s main focus is bringing the clinical stage oncology asset Cynviloq™ and resiniferatoxin (RTX) into the market as quickly as possible, non-dilutive funding from the NIH allows us to explore innovative therapies for unmet medical needs such as multiple drug resistant bacterial infections. The research and development team, led by Gunnar Kaufmann, PhD, Senior Director, R&D, Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc., has done tremendous work in identifying and characterizing fully human anti-infective antibodies and developing cutting-edge technologies like our bispecific antibody platforms and the “antibody formulated drug conjugate” (AfDC) technology. Together with our academic collaborators we will develop much needed anti-bacterial therapies against drug-resistant Gram-negative and Gram-positive pathogens,” said Henry Ji, Ph.D., President and CEO of Sorrento Therapeutics

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Published in: Sorento Therapeutics, Inc website