What happened

Shares of Sorrento Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SRNE) were jumping 11.2% higher as of 11:09 a.m. EST on Wednesday. The nice gain came after the company announced that it's filing an investigational new drug (IND) application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin an early-stage clinical study evaluating experimental intranasal drug STI-2099 in treating COVID-19.

So what

Normally, the filing of an IND wouldn't be a major catalyst for a biotech stock. However, Sorrento's announcement about submitting for FDA approval to begin a clinical study of STI-2099 comes hot on the heels of the IND filing for experimental COVID-19 antibody therapy STI-2020 earlier this week. There's also the reality that anything related to coronavirus treatments and vaccines tends to fire up investors right now.

Hand next to COVID-19 spelled out in circular tiles

Image source: Getty Images.

Sorrento previously announced positive preclinical results for STI-2099. The intranasal therapeutic candidate prevented infection by SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, in Syrian golden hamsters. 

STI-2099's big plus in fighting COVID-19 could be that it's delivered through the nasal passage. Sorrento CEO Henry Ji stated, "The intranasal route is expected to be enabled by the high potency of the antibody and is quite promising against this highly contagious respiratory pathogen."

Now what

Sorrento now must wait on the FDA's decision about approving the initiation of an early stage clinical study evaluating STI-2099. Assuming the agency gives the go-ahead and this study goes well, the biotech expects that it will follow up with a phase 2 study of the experimental drug in patients with mild and moderate cases of COVID-19.

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