Sorrento Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SRNE) isn't letting Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) grab all the headlines about the healthcare industry's battle against the coronavirus. On Monday, Sorrento announced it has submitted an Investigational New Drug (IND) application for its STI-2020, an antibody therapy that treats COVID-19.

An IND application is essentially a collection of data that is submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to win approval for a human clinical trial. Sorrento aims to put STI-2020, an intravenous therapy, through its paces on both COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms and -- in a separate trial -- on healthy participants to conduct a safety and pharmacokinetic study.

Close-up of an IV drip.

Image source: Getty Images.

The filing comes shortly after Sorrento's IND for STI-1499, the parent antibody for STI-2020, was approved in September by the FDA. Aspects of the research underpinning that application were used in the new IND. 

The company has high hopes for its treatment. In preclinical studies, it showed a 100% neutralizing effect, blocking the coronavirus from infecting healthy cells. Sorrento said this was achieved using a low dosage.

In its press release heralding the new IND, the company touted the potential advantages of its treatment. "The high potency of the antibody may potentially translate to more doses per bioreactor manufacturing run, lower cost per dose, and allow for rapid deployment and availability to patients."

Cost and deployment are two major concerns of public health officials, as any approved therapy will require extremely wide -- and hopefully rapid -- distribution.

However, Sorrento's encouraging news was very much overshadowed by the latest developments with coronavirus stocks Pfizer and BioNTech's BNT162b2 on Monday. Sorrento's shares fell by more than 17% on the day, in contrast to the gains of the S&P 500 index.

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