A subsidiary of Sorrento Therapeutics has landed a potential $34M contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to produce a rapid countermeasure against COVID-19.
SmartPharm Therapeutics will encode the STI-2020 SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody into a plasmid DNA that will be incorporated into the Gene MAb platform, Sorrento said Friday.
DARPA seeks to speed up the development of an antibody that will support intramuscular injection and provide recipients with potent neutralizing antibodies to mitigate potential SARS-CoV-2 mutations.
"We look forward to working with our Department of Defense partners to potentially add a novel approach to the arsenal of solutions for combating this devastating disease," said Henry Ji, Sorrento CEO.
The award provides for the project's phase two clinical studies. Sorrento plans to apply for further funding to drive large-scale manufacturing efforts and secure an emergency use authorization approval for Gene MAb.