What happened

Shares of Sorrento Therapeutics (SRNE.Q -12.12%) were jumping 5.1% as of 3:13 p.m. EST on Wednesday after rising as much as 12.5% earlier in the day. The gain came following the company's announcement Tuesday evening of the presentation of new data for its STI-2020 COVID-19 antibody therapy with new variants of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. 

So what

Sorrento executive Robert Allen presented some data yesterday at PepTalk 2021 and will make another presentation on Thursday. The company stated that this new data showed evidence of sustained binding potency of its experimental STI-2020 antibody therapy with the B.1.1.7 variant of SARS-CoV-2 initially identified in the U.K. and the B.1.351 variant initially identified in South Africa.

Scientist looking through a microscope

Image source: Getty Images.

This is certainly good news for Sorrento. There have been concerns that antibody therapies might not be as effective in treating the new variants of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

It's still really early, though. Sorrento's data came from in vitro assays in pre-clinical trials. Clinical studies in humans will be needed to conclusively establish that STI-2020 is safe and effective in treating COVID-19 patients, including those infected with the newly discovered variants. 

Now what

Sorrento received a green light from the Food and Drug Administration in December to move forward with a phase 1 clinical study evaluating STI-2020. Positive results from this study would likely provide another solid catalyst for the biotech stock. The company also awaits an FDA decision on Emergency Use Authorization for its COVI-STIX rapid COVID-19 diagnostics test.