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Sorrento Therapeutics – COVID-19 Cure or Stock Scam? The jury’s out

PortandTerminal.com, May 15, 2020

Shares of Sorrento Therapeutics spiked as much as 244% on Friday after the company said an antibody it was developing showed “100% inhibition” of the COVID-19 virus in preclinical studies.

SAN DIEGO, CA – Earlier today we reported on a California biopharmaceutical company called Sorrento Therapeutics that claims it has made a coronavirus antibody breakthrough. In short – they are in no uncertain terms claiming to have a coronavirus cure.

Sorrento says that the full results from its preclinical experiments will be “submitted to a peer-reviewed publication shortly.”

“We want to emphasize there is a cure. There is a solution that works 100 percent. If we have the neutralizing antibody in your body, you don’t need the social distancing. You can open up a society without fear.”

Dr. Henry Ji, founder and CEO of Sorrento Therapeutics

Wait, what? A 100% cure rate? That’s a big, bold claim to be making. But not everyone is buying it though.

ANY company that claims to have a 100% cure rate is FOS!

Douglas W. House, Seeking Alpha Editor, Healthcare sector investor and analyst

The story was initially released as an exclusive by FOX News which in some circles has raised scepticism about the veracity of Sorrento’s claims. If you’re a reputable biotech company, then why release news as big as this to FOX News, which at best, can only be described as polarizing when it comes to this type of thing. #hydroxychloroquine

Would the Wall Street Journal not have been interested in a story this big? Many believe that this may be a classic “pump and dump” stock scam.

One thing is for sure. If this is all just a pump and dump stock scam, then so far, it’s working. The company’s stock has gone through the roof today, up 158% on the day. The hype today added over a billion dollars to the company’s market valuation.

Press Release

This afternoon Sorrento Therapeutics released a Press Release in which they outline in detail what they claim to have achieved.

You can read their full press release by clicking here.

Highlights of what they have to say:

“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”

They are claiming to have found an antibody, STI-1499, that allows them to achieve the following:

  • 100% inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection of healthy cells after four days incubation
  • Our STI-1499 antibody shows exceptional therapeutic potential and could potentially save lives following receipt of necessary regulatory approvals
  • Sorrento has determined STI-1499 will likely be the first antibody in the antibody cocktail (COVI-SHIELD ™) it is developing,

‘The Company is seeking potential government support and pharmaceutical partners to further scale up STI-1499 manufacturing capacity with a goal of potentially providing tens of millions of doses in a short period of time to meet the vast projected demand.”

Bottom Line

For anyone old enough to remember the hit series the X-Files, you’ll remember the poster in Mulder’s office of the UFO with the line “I want to believe”.

We all want to believe this news. We need a solution to the pandemic. If it is true that they’ve cracked it, then Sorrento Therapeutics deserves every dollar that they will earn on this discovery.

BUT. Let’s all just settle down for now and wait for them to deliver on their promise to submit their full results from their preclinical experiments “to a peer-reviewed publication shortly.”

The ball’s in your court Sorrento. We want to believe. But God help you if this is just a scam.

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