Sorrento Therapeutics partners with university to develop antibodies

Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc., a San Diego-based development-stage biopharmaceutical company, announced an option and license agreement on Tuesday with the Israel-based B.G. Negev Technologies and Applications, Ltd., to develop anti-hepatitis C virus antibodies.

The agreement covers multiple fully human anti-hepatitis C virus antibody clones that were identified in the laboratory of Leslie Lobel. BGN Technologies is the technology transfer company of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where Lobel is a professor.

Lobel identified the antibody clones from patients who recovered from HCV infections. Sorrento intends to develop the early findings into a potential therapeutic product.

"Sorrento has already achieved many successes using its proprietary G-MAB library to identify, characterize and develop fully human antibodies against difficult targets relevant to infectious agents," Henry Ji, the president and CEO of Sorrento, said. "We are excited to be working with Dr. Lobel to add a program targeting HCV to our existing portfolio of therapeutic antibodies for the prevention and/or treatment of major infectious diseases."

Sorrento said the collaborative agreement uses the strengths of each organizations to create a product opportunity with therapeutic and/or prophylactic agents against HCV infections. Sorrento will develop the perspective anti-HCV antibody products.

"We are pleased to be collaborating with Sorrento to develop our fully human anti-HCV antibody clones into potential anti-HCV therapeutics," Lobel, the vice chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics at the university, said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 170 million people around the world are chronically infected with HIV, including approximately 3.2 million people in the U.S.