From its lows during the depths of the COVID-19-induced stock market crash in March, shares of Sorrento Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SRNE) have soared more than 10 times in value.
In May, Sorrento made the shocking announcement that it believed it found a cure to COVID-19. In an interview with Fox News, CEO Dr. Henry Ji said:
We want to emphasize there is a cure. There is a solution that works 100%. If we have the neutralizing antibody in your body, you don't need the social distancing. You can open up a society without fear.
Ji was referring to Sorrento's experimental antibody, STI-1499, which the biopharmaceutical company claims can neutralize SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVD-19. His bold statements certainly got the attention of investors, and Sorrento's stock surged on the news.
Shares pulled back after skeptics questioned the validity of Ji's claims. But in June, Sorrento said it had designed another potential antidote to COVID-19: STI-4398, a protein it said could inhibit the ability of the novel coronavirus to infect certain cells in the respiratory tract. The news helped ignite another rally in Sorrento's share price.
Sorrento's gains accelerated in July after the company released promising pre-clinical results from its COVID-19 vaccine program. Sorrento said its vaccine candidate T-VIVA-19 produced neutralizing antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 in mice.
And July 29, Sorrento said it had licensed a test from Columbia University that detects the SARS-CoV-2 virus in as little as 30 minutes using saliva samples, rather than uncomfortable nasal swabs. That's led to another massive rally in Sorrento's stock price in recent days, as investors have grown increasingly excited about the massive potential market opportunity for this new rapid diagnostic test.
Sorrento has provided investors with plenty of reasons to be optimistic about its future. But it's important to note that much more testing is required to prove both the safety and effectiveness of its antibody treatments and vaccine candidate. That uncertainty, combined with the stock's incredible gains, make Sorrento a relatively high-risk investment today.