SAN DIEGO, May 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (OTCBB: SRNE; or STI) announced today that its Fast-Track Advanced Technology Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) grant (#1R42AI098182-02) from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), supporting the development of novel human antibody therapeutics to combat Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus or Staph) infections, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), was renewed for the second year of a two year Phase I grant award. Due to the Fast Track status of the grant, if STI meets certain milestones during this second year, STI may be awarded Phase II funding of up to $1 million per year for up to 2 additional years.
Sorrento Therapeutics' anti-MRSA program specifically targets the auto-inducing peptides (AIPs) central to the quorum sensing system of S. aureus that controls virulence factor production, including toxin production. Neutralizing these AIPs leads to a disruption of bacterial communication (quorum quenching) and suppresses Staph virulence. In January of 2010, STI obtained an exclusive license from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) to the quorum quenching technology which lays the scientific foundation for this program.
"The STI team, together with our academic collaborator Dr. Jovanka Voyich at the Montana State University, has done tremendous work in identifying and characterizing fully human anti-AIP antibodies. Our lead antibody has demonstrated significant protection in relevant infection models, including localized skin infection and lethal peritonitis. With the renewal of our anti-MRSA grant award, NIH remains supportive of funding the innovative approach of quorum quenching to tackle the serious healthcare burden of Staph infections," said Barbara Swanson, Ph.D., the Principal Investigator on the grant and a director of research at STI. More comprehensive data analyses will be presented in future conferences or scientific publications.
"We believe that targeting quorum sensing signal molecules using our proprietary technology is an innovative and promising strategy for the prevention and possibly treatment of serious S. aureus infections, including those caused by antibiotic-resistant MRSA strains, as we expect that our antibodies may not be affected by existing drug resistances. We look forward to continue working with our colleagues at Montana State University in developing the novel human antibody therapeutics against MRSA" said Dr. Gunnar F. Kaufmann, the Senior Director of Research and Development at STI and co-inventor of the quorum quenching technology.
For 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 94,000 serious invasive MRSA infections occurred in the U.S. and more than 19,000 Americans died from these infections - more than from HIV/AIDS. A 2009 study from Duke University Medical Center looking at MRSA infections associated with surgery found a 35-fold increased risk of hospital readmission, a 7-fold increased risk of death, and more than $60,000 of additional charges per infected patient compared to uninfected patients. While the number of life-threatening invasive MRSA infections has begun to decline according to the CDC, a recent report from the Alliance of Prudent Use of Antibiotics (APUA; www.apua.org) indicated that antibiotic-resistant infections overall cost the US healthcare system more than $20 billion each year.
About Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc.
Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. is a publicly-traded, development-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel and proprietary biotherapeutics for the treatment of a variety of disease conditions, including cancer, inflammation, metabolic and infectious diseases. STI's objective is to identify drug development candidates derived from its proprietary human antibody libraries and, either independently or through partnerships, advance selected targets into preclinical or clinical development. In 2012, STI identified and further developed a number of potential drug product candidates across various therapeutic areas, and STI intends to select several lead product candidates to progress into preclinical development activities in 2013. More information is available at www.sorrentotherapeutics.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Words such as "plans," "believes," "expects," "anticipates," and "will," and similar expressions, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements about the preclinical and clinical development of quorum quenching technologies and its prospects, the research and development opportunities presented by STI's license agreement with TSRI, its potential to receive funding for a Phase II grant for the anti-MRSA program for up to 2 additional years from the NIAID, whether STI's quorum quenching technology could lead to the prevention and possibly treatment of S. aureus, whether the development of anti-MRSA antibody therapeutics holds great clinical promise and STI's potential development of human antibody therapeutics. All such forward-looking statements are based on STI's current beliefs and expectations, and should not be regarded as a representation by STI that any of its plans will be achieved. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in this press release due to the risks and uncertainties inherent in STI's businesses; the scope and validity of patent protection for STI's platform technologies, and the risk that the development or commercialization of product candidates may infringe the intellectual property rights of others; the potential that STI may require substantial additional funding in order to obtain regulatory approval for and commercialize quorum quenching technologies or any other product; and additional risks set forth in Sorrento Therapeutics' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements represent Sorrento Therapeutics' judgment as of the date of this release. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement and STI undertakes no obligation to revise or update this press release to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof. This caution is made under the safe harbor provisions of Section 21E of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
Acknowledgement of NIH Support
The project described was supported by Award Number 1R42AI098182-02 from the NIAID. The content herein is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIAID or the NIH.
SOURCE Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc.