What happened

Shares of Sorrento Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SRNE) were climbing 4.5% as of 10:45 a.m. EDT on Monday. The small biotech didn't report any news. Instead, it appears to be the result of the rise in the overall stock market as well as investors buying on the dip after Sorrento announced on Friday plans to acquire SmartPharm Therapeutics.

So what

Today's jump for Sorrento is basically just noise that investors can ignore. It doesn't mean that the outlook for the company has changed in any way.

Gloved hand stopping wood blocks spelling COVID-19 from knocking over other wood blocks

Image source: Getty Images.

However, Sorrento has had some news recently that could improve its prospects. The company announced on July 20 that the Food and Drug Administration had given the green light for the start of a phase 2 study evaluating Abivertinib in COVID-19 patients with moderate to severe pulmonary symptoms. Sorrento licensed Abivertinib from ACEA Therapeutics in May.

Sorrento's announcement last week about the acquisition of SmartPharm Therapeutics also could make a big difference for the biotech over the long run. SmartPharm's gene-encoded therapeutics platform could help bolster Sorrento's pipeline with additional candidates down the road.

Now what

There are two potential catalysts for the biotech stock in the near future. Sorrento's advancement of Abivertinib into a phase 2 study of COVID-19 patients is key for investors to watch. Also, the company expects to file for FDA approval to begin a phase 1 clinical trial of COVID-19 antibody therapy candidate STI-1499 (also known as COVI-GUARD) in August.

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