Sorrento Therapeutics (SRNE.Q 4.23%) arguably has the most diverse set of products for the COVID-19 pandemic. In this video from Motley Fool Live recorded on Nov. 12, executives from the company talk about a few of the biotech's preclinical products. Salicyn 30 is an antiviral that blocks infection of cells by the novel coronavirus. COVIDTRAP is an ACE2 receptor decoy, which could bind up the coronavirus and keep it from infecting cells. And STI 8282 is a stem cell product designed to help patients recover from lung damage.
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Brian Orelli: You've got a couple of other treatments that you're working on. There is an antiviral treatment that's in pre-clinical development called Salicyn 30. Can you explain how it inhibits the virus and then what's your timeframe for that to go into the clinic?
Henry Ji: A small-molecule, we synthesize a good quantity and we have some of the early PK data of this one, is systematically available. Now, we are formulating it. That is a potentially oral pill and we're doing the planning for PK study, then do a viral challenge study. If we do viral challenges study, if that works, then we should be able to get into a talk study and get into potentially human testing. Now, the mechanism, the action of this small molecule is totally different from all of the other small molecule. This is relating to memory potentiating working on a host cells. If you can change the memory potentiation, it blocks the virus entry into the cell. That tells you it could be a broad spectrum potentially. One of the component [...] plasmid in the similar type of class, they're already in human testing. It's test as a broad spectrum against the coronavirus, potentially other viruses. So our component is more potent than the [...] and we believe this compound, if everything goes well, could be a broad spectrum for pan-coronavirus. That gives you potentially any type of the coronavirus and even the mutant emerging, that small molecule may still work. It's not a protease, not an RNA reverse transcriptase inhibitor.
Brian Orelli: If I hear you correctly, it's blocking the infection into the cells. Is that how it works?
Henry Ji: That's our hope. So far, in the in vitro viral [...] cell testing, looks like it works to block it. We are testing different coronavirus with the thinking behind that this could be a pan-coronavirus protection.
Brian Orelli: Then you have COVIDTRAP which is ACE2 receptor decoy. Can you talk about the mechanism of [...]
Henry Ji: What we have is that the mechanism actually is using the decoy receptor for the binding of the virus protein.
Brian Orelli: The virus uses ACE2 to enter the cell, is that correct?
Henry Ji: Exactly.
Brian Orelli: So basically, you're producing a whole bunch of ACE2 that won't go into the cell and then the virus will bind to the ACE2 instead of the [...]
Henry Ji: Exactly. One of the issues with this type of decoy is FDA has a very high requirement for the decoy protein if you still have the enzyme activity. You have to engineer the enzyme out and like a [...] it's a [...] enzyme decoy protein, no enzyme activity. Now, we actually tested the TRACK versus our neutralizing antibody. Right now, our neutralizing antibody so far works on all of the variant. We can have a hands on it and we are much more potent on the track. Right now, as we have the mind is putting the [...] into the [...] neutralizing antibody because it much more potent and avoiding all of the potential tops concern with enzyme activity or not. So far, we have not seen our antibody being escaped by the virus different strain so we are focusing our energy onto the neutralizing antibody and putting the trappers in the backup mode. We don't need every one of them to work. We just need one or two approach really works. Our goal is to get the neutralizing antibody, the intravenous, and the intranasal neutralizing antibody work. So far, we don't see any escaping from our antibody, so we locked that out so far.
Brian Orelli: Then finally, I think I got them all, we have STI 8282 which you recently licensed, it's a stem cell product. Can you talk about how that could help patients with COVID-19?
Henry Ji: Mark?
Mark Brunswick: Yes. When patients are hospitalized and they go into a ventilator and their lungs get severely damaged by the virus, being on the ventilator, the stem cells will be able to come in and help the patients regenerate lung tissue to be able to then go home. It's basically a regenerative process for the lungs.
Brian Orelli: That's been cleared to start a phase 1 by the FDA. When do you expect to start that study?
Mark Brunswick: We are anticipating starting that study before the end of the year.
Henry Ji: We are actively working with the site and starting the enrollment.