Representational image
Representational image

On Friday, the shares of a small biotechnology company in the US rose as much as 244% after it announced that it had made a breakthrough in the development of an antibody to combat the COVID-19 virus.

California-based Sorrento Therapeutics announced that an antibody it was developing had demonstrated its ability to completely block SARS-CoV-2 infection of healthy cells in pre-clinical laboratory experiments. In case you were wondering, SARS-CoV-2 is the official name of the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The results on Friday showed that the antibody in question, STI-1499, completely neutralised the virus infectivity at a very low antibody dose, making it a prime candidate for further testing and development. Initial biochemical and biophysical analyses also indicate STI-1499 is a potentially strong antibody drug candidate, said company.

"Our STI-1499 antibody shows exceptional therapeutic potential and could potentially save lives following receipt of necessary regulatory approvals," Henry Ji, Chairman and CEO of Sorrento, said in a statement.

Sorrento aims to generate an antibody cocktail product that would act as a "protective shield" against SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection and remain effective even if virus mutations render a single antibody therapy less effective over time. STI-1499 will likely be the first antibody in the antibody cocktail, the company said.

According to a Business Insider report, Sorrento Therapeutics' market value went from $549 million at Thursday's close to roughly $1.9 billion at the intra-day highs on Friday.

Reportedly, the company plans to submit the full results of its pre-clinical trials to a peer reviewed publication. Additionally, the company is looking to ask regulators for a prioritised evaluation and speedy review of its potential antibody.

(With inputs from IANS)

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