DARPA and JPEO Award Contract to SmartPharm, a Subsidiary of Sorrento, for Development of Rapid Countermeasure Against COVID-19 Using Gene-Encoded Neutralizing Antibodies

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SmartPharm Therapeutics, Inc. (“SmartPharm”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: SRNE, “Sorrento”), and developer of next-generation, non-viral gene therapy technologies, announced today that it has been awarded a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) co-funded by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) to develop a rapid countermeasure to COVID-19. The contract would provide SmartPharm up to USD $34 million for development through Phase 2 clinical studies of a gene-encoded antibody (“Gene MAb”) that could enable rapid protection from and/or treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19. Sorrento will seek further funding in support of the COVID Gene MAb program toward EUA (emergency use authorization) approval and large-scale manufacturing pending successful clinical studies.