Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. announced today that it has completed its acquisition of Concortis Biosystems, Corp. The transaction provides Sorrento with a comprehensive antibody-drug conjugate technology platform designed to create a new generation of homogenous antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) with site-specific toxin conjugation and consistent drug-antibody ratios. With the close of the deal, Sorrento has issued an aggregate of 1,331,978 shares of its common stock to the Concortis shareholders. Based on the closing share price on December 18, 2013, the transaction is valued at $11.3 million.

With the acquisition, Sorrento adds Concortis’ proprietary cytotoxic payloads as well as C-lock® and K-lock® conjugation technologies that allow for site-specific toxin conjugation to the antibody. These new technologies may improve the overall stability and potency of the ADC. First-generation conjugation technologies lead to inconsistent drug-antibody ratios, which result in a heterogeneous mixture of ADCs. This variability has been a constraining factor in unlocking the full therapeutic potential for current-generation ADCs.

The ADC technology complements Sorrento’s existing development programs, particularly its G-MAB® antibody library. The G-MAB library contains a vast and diverse array of fully functional monoclonal antibodies, including antibodies that hit the historically difficult to target G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). In 2015, Sorrento expects to begin clinical testing of its monoclonal antibody targeting PD-L1 as well as its ADC targeting VEGFR2.

The company has also developed a diverse library of fully functional monoclonal antibodies, complemented by a comprehensive ADC platform comprised of wholly owned conjugation chemistry, linkers and toxic payloads. Sorrento’s multi-pronged approach to combating cancer with small molecules, antibodies, and ADCs provides optionality in addressing the complexity of cancer.

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“While our near term clinical opportunity exists in a bioequivalence trial of Cynviloq™ beginning in 2014, this ADC technology acquired from Concortis will help maximize the potential of our G-MAB library and fuel our R&D pipeline over the long-term,” said Henry Ji, Ph.D., President and CEO of Sorrento. “The successes of first-generation ADCs have paved a path for new conjugation technologies. Our ownership of each of the key components of an ADC – the antibody, conjugation chemistry, linkers, and toxins – gives us a distinct and unique advantage in the field.”

Other agreements
Earlier this year Sorrento also signed a non-exclusive research license agreement with Lonza for access to Lonza’s GS Xceed™ Gene Expression System. Sorrento will use the GS Xceed™ System in the generation of stable expression cell lines for the production and development of therapeutic antibodies in the company’s product portfolio.

This research license give Sorrento access to Lonza’s GS technology for use in Sorrento’s maturing pipeline of therapeutic antibodies in oncology, inflammation, and infectious disease. Sorrento has shown yields of up to 3g/L with the GS Xceed™ System, in the production of antibodies targeting the vascular epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2), an important anti-angiogenesis target for a number of solid tumor indications. Several monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) will be produced and developed under the new agreement, including Sorrento’s lead anti-PD-L1 and anti-PD-1 antibodies, as well as a selection of traditionally difficult-to-obtain anti-chemokine receptor mAbs.

“We license Lonza’s GS Xceed™ System for the development of our lead human therapeutic antibody programs,” commented Henry Ji, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Sorrento Therapeutics. “The speed and ease of use of the GS Xceed™ System will aid in the rapid selection of high-producing cell lines and accelerate the production and development of our most promising therapeutic candidates.”

“We look forward to supporting Sorrento’s efforts to expand and develop its pipeline of promising new therapeutic candidates,” said Karen Fallen, VP of Licensing and Technology, Lonza Development Services. “The GS Xceed System™ is an innovative and robust expression system derived from our industry-leading original GS System™ optimized through years of process development expertise.”

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