Sorrento Therapeutics, a late-stage clinical oncology company developing new treatments for cancer and its associated pain, has received two NIH small business grants, which will fund the development of bispecific antibodies for two of its anti-bacterial immunotherapies. Sorrento's highly diverse, fully human G-MAB library and proprietary antibody conjugation technology platforms have broad applications beyond oncology, including other therapeutic areas such as anti-infectives and auto-immune diseases.
Sorrento was awarded a phase II Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the NIH, which will support the advanced preclinical development of human bispecific antibody therapeutics to prevent and treat Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus or Staph) infections, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA).
Sorrento's anti-MRSA program specifically targets auto-inducing peptides (AIPs) central to the quorum sensing system of S. aureus that controls toxin production. Neutralizing these AIPs has been shown to disrupt bacterial communication (quorum quenching) and to mitigate Staph infections.
The academic partner for this STTR grant is Dr. Jovanka Voyich at Montana State University. The funds available under this grant are approximately $1 million per year for up to two years. In 2010, Sorrento obtained an exclusive license from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) to the quorum quenching technology, the scientific foundation for this program.
In addition, Sorrento was awarded a phase I STTR grant from NIAID. This grant will support the preclinical development of novel anti-Pseudomonas aeruginosa mAb immunotherapy or an antibody-mediated targeted antibiotic delivery vehicle. Each modality may be an effective and safe stand-alone therapy and/or a component of a "cocktail" therapeutic option for prevention and treatment of P. aeruginosa infections. The academic partner for this STTR grant is Dr. Daniel Wozniak at the Ohio State University. The funds available under this grant are approximately $300,000 per year for up to two years.
"While Sorrento's main focus is bringing the clinical stage oncology asset Cynviloq and resiniferatoxin (RTX) into the market as quickly as possible, non-dilutive funding from the NIH allows us to explore innovative therapies for unmet medical needs such as multiple drug resistant bacterial infections,” said Henry Ji, Ph.D., president and CEO of Sorrento. “Together with our academic collaborators Voyich and Wozniak, we will develop much needed anti-bacterial therapies against drug-resistant Gram-negative and Gram-positive pathogens."