Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Brazil Healthcare Regulator Authorizes Sorrento Therapeutics' Phase 2 Trial for Coronavirus Drug Candidate

By Eric Volkman – Updated Oct 15, 2020 at 9:23AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The American biotech aims to recruit 400 people for the study.

Abivertinib, one of Sorrento Therapeutics' (SRNE 2.44%) COVID-19 drug candidates, will be entering phase 2 testing in Brazil. This follows approval granted on Wednesday by the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), the country's healthcare regulator, which has cleared the U.S. company to advance the drug's development in the sprawling South American nation.

Abivertinib was originally designed to treat cancer; Sorrento believes it can limit the overactive immune systems seen in some COVID-19 patients.

In July, the drug was cleared for phase 2 testing in the U.S., but the Brazil study will have several differences. Among other distinctions, it will involve patients with mild, moderate, or severe forms of the illness; participants in the American trial are limited to severe COVID-19 cases. In Brazil, any hospitalized patient will be eligible; patients in the U.S. study must be in the intensive care unit and nonventilated.

A medical professional using a microscope.

Image source: Getty Images.

All told, Sorrento aims to recruit 400 participants in the Brazil trial. It says that its partnerships with local organizations and medical systems in the country should help it enroll that number quickly. 

Testing Abivertinib on a population outside the so-called "first world" is intentional.

"By targeting some of the geographies currently most impacted by COVID-19, we are able to implement a synergistic program to answer questions about safety and efficacy of our drug candidates in helping patients, while potentially accelerating enrollment timelines, reducing overall cost and opening up collaboration opportunities with local companies," Sorrento quoted CEO Henry Ji as saying.

The company is one of numerous biotechs around the world engaged in the fight against COVID-19; Abivertinib is among a clutch of drugs and vaccines Sorrento is trying to develop for this purpose.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Stocks Mentioned

Sorrento Therapeutics Stock Quote
Sorrento Therapeutics
$1.26 (2.44%) $0.03

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.