Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: SRNE) today announced an antibody discovery and development collaboration with The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA. Under the terms of the agreement, Sorrento Therapeutics obtains an exclusive, worldwide license to the Institute's novel technology, based on quorum sensing, for the prevention and treatment of Staphylococcus aureus ('Staph') infections, including Methicillin-resistant Staph. aureus (MRSA).
Sorrento Therapeutics will utilize its proprietary antibody library technology to identify fully human antibodies for the neutralization of Staph-specific signaling peptides that control bacterial virulence. A research group at the Institute, led by Drs. Kim Janda and Gunnar Kaufmann, has shown that sequestering of these signaling peptides, which are integral components of a bacterial communication process called quorum sensing, results in significantly reduced virulence of MRSA in both cellular and animal models. The Staph signaling peptide analogs described by Scripps Research represent a unique opportunity to develop both, vaccines and antibody-based immunotherapeutics, to combat MRSA.
"We are impressed by the promising animal data presented by our colleagues at Scripps Research and are pleased to collaborate on the development of human vaccines and fully human antibody therapeutics to help address the important public health issue of MRSA infections," stated Dr. Henry Ji, Chief Scientific Officer of Sorrento Therapeutics. "This discovery program represents a novel approach to fighting MRSA, and we also see interference with quorum sensing as a more general approach to address the serious issue of antibiotic resistance beyond MRSA."
MRSA infections are a growing healthcare concern, particularly as resistance to antibiotics, such as vancomycin, becomes more widespread. In the United States alone, 2.5 million individuals are MRSA carriers and the CDC estimates that in the U.S. 94,000 cases of acute, generalized MRSA infections resulted in 19,000 deaths in 2005.
Using Scripps Research's quorum sensing-based technology, Sorrento Therapeutics will seek to identify fully human antibody candidates that disrupt the biological communication processes of MRSA.
"We have published that antibodies targeting the quorum sensing process are protective against MRSA infections in established animal models," said Dr. Kim Janda of Scripps Research. "Sorrento Therapeutics' human antibody library will be a critical resource in identifying fully human antibodies that can be developed into clinical therapeutics against MRSA."
SOURCE Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc.