Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (OTC: SRNEQ, “Sorrento”) today announces it has been awarded a $4.6 million contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the development of in vitro diagnostics for biodefense, antimicrobial resistant infections and emerging infectious diseases. The award shows NIAID’s support for the development of promising quantitative diagnostics technologies for detection of signatures from biothreat pathogens as well as pathogens causing emerging or reemerging infectious diseases, and for pandemic preparedness.
The purpose of the contract is to develop a diagnostic platform for rapid and sensitive detection of proteins and other biomolecules that improves existing rapid testing devices (RTDs). Current diagnostic RTDs have long development timelines and low clinical sensitivity. Sorrento and Virex Health, LLC (Virex Health), a wholly owned subsidiary of Sorrento, plan to develop an adaptable diagnostic platform which is highly sensitive and cost-effective for multiple pathogens. This approach leverages the expertise of Sorrento to rapidly select and produce highly specific antibodies from its proprietary G-MAB™ library targeting viral and bacterial antigens, combined with a chemical detection approach and the existing infrastructure of the glucometer industry.
Virex Health has developed a proprietary technology for electrochemical detection of bioanalytes (virus, proteins, and small molecules) using the similar electronic device requirements employed in reusable glucometers and has reformulated the chemistry contained on the test strip to detect pathogens. In so doing, Virex Health leverages an existing infrastructure that produces tens of millions of devices per year. The objective is to address the needs of rapid detection for biodefense and new emerging infectious disease preparedness. At the conclusion of the contract, Sorrento and Virex Health intend to deliver a rapid, sensitive, accurate and scalable diagnostic capable of being readily deployed in response to an emergent or reemergent threat. “Once the diagnostic platform is developed, our unique approach can be quickly transferred to other pathogens and deployed when needed on a large scale,” said Scott Schaus, Ph.D., Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for Virex Health.
“We are pleased to accept this award and collaboration with the U.S. Government to ensure that, as a society, we are better prepared for the next pandemic. This award validates our unique approach of combining antibody development and electrochemical-based diagnostics for a rapid response to save lives and manage infectious disease outbreaks,” stated Henry Ji, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO of Sorrento Therapeutics.
“This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. 75N93023C00024”.