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Top Analyst Sees More Than One Path to COVID-19 Solutions for Sorrento



Top Analyst Sees More Than One Path to COVID-19 Solutions for SorrentoSorrento Therapeutics’ (SRNE) competitors might be further down the line with their COVID-19 programs, but H.C. Wainwright analyst Ram Selvaraju highlights two separate routes the biotech could take to bring possible treatments and/or preventative therapies to market.Last week, Sorrento disclosed that in preclinical trials, the company’s monoclonal antibody (MaB), STI-4938, code named COVIDTRAP, inhibited SARS-CoV-2 viral infection in vitro.The data showed that STI-4938, an ACE2-Fc decoy protein, binds solidly to the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein, and is able to stop the virus from infecting the respiratory cells (specifically, in African green monkey kidney epithelial cells).Sorrento has another antibody in development, STI-1499 (COVI-SHIELD), which also recently demonstrated promising in vitro results as it was able to completely block the SARS-CoV-2 virus.While it is still early on for both antibodies, with the next stage involving preclinical animal studies, Selvaraju is encouraged by the additional positive results. “Together with Sorrento’s previously announced preclinical neutralizing antibody candidate, STI-1499, COVIDTRAP may provide a potent antidote against COVID-19,” the 5-star analyst said.That being said, Selvaraju believes there might be another COVID-related catalyst on the horizon. Recent preliminary results for AstraZeneca’s blood cancer drug, Calquence, showed that it might be effective as a treatment for COVID-19. In a study of 19 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by COVID-19, the majority exhibited significant improvement in oxygen levels after taking the drug.The promising data for Calquence, a BTK (Bruton Tyrosine Kinase) inhibitor, might have implications for Sorrento’s own BTK inhibitor candidate, according to Selvaraju. “In our view, the promising early-stage clinical data for Calquence may provide an early read on the potential for the CALAVI program to yield positive results. There may be read-through from this to the applicability of Sorrento’s own BTK inhibitor, abivertinib, to treat lung inflammation in COVID-19-infected patients. We remind investors that Sorrento recently announced its in-licensing of ex China rights to abivertinib, a dual BTK/EGFR inhibitor. The possibility that BTK inhibition may have a therapeutic role in addressing the consequences of COVID-19 infection only enhances the appeal of Sorrento’s candidate,” the analyst explained.To this end, Selvaraju has a Buy rating on Sorrento to go with a $24 price target. Expect upside of a massive 431% should Selvaraju’s thesis play out in the coming months. (To watch Selvaraju’s track record, click here)Only one other analyst has published a Sorrento review over the last three months, matching both Selvaraju’s Buy rating and $24 price target. This makes the consensus rating a Moderate Buy. (See Sorrento stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for healthcare stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.

Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

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