Sorrento Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: SRNE) is a name that we last covered back in 2017. We talked about the stock when it was trading at $2 and then ran to $10 in short order. Since then, SRNE has been on a steady downhill trend before bottoming earlier this month at $1.80 a share. Since bottoming out, SRNE has been quite a mover as positive news flow and short-covering have brought buyers back into the stock. Investors and traders are now asking what’s next?
First up, a little background info for those that are not familiar with this junior biotech. Sorrento is a clinical-stage, antibody-centric, biopharmaceutical company developing new therapies to turn malignant cancers into manageable and possibly curable diseases. Sorrento’s multimodal multipronged approach to fighting cancer is made possible by its’ extensive immuno-oncology platforms, including key assets such as fully human antibodies (“G-MAB™ library”), clinical-stage immuno-cellular therapies (“CAR-T”), intracellular targeting antibodies (“iTAbs”), antibody-drug conjugates (“ADC”), and clinical-stage oncolytic virus (“Seprehvir®”).
Sorrento’s commitment to life-enhancing therapies for cancer patients is also demonstrated by its effort to advance Resiniferatoxin (“RTX”), a first-in-class (TRPV1 agonist) non-opioid pain management small molecule, ZTlido®, and SP-102, a non-opioid corticosteroid gel. Resiniferatoxin is completing Phase 1b trials in terminal cancer patients and knee osteoarthritis patients. ZTlido was approved by the US FDA on 02/28/18. SP-102 is in Phase 3 pivotal study for the treatment of lumbar radicular pain/sciatica. RTX Phase 3 studies in osteoarthritis knee pain are scheduled to start later in 2019.
What got SRNE moving this month was excitement surrounding the company’s presentation at the Oppenheimer Health Care Conference in New York City on March 20th. Unfortunately, there was really nothing new mentioned by the company at the conference. Many are asking why the stock ran this month and no one is really quite sure. From what we have been able to gather, it was a combination of short-covering and possible news announcements. One of which concerns Celularity and which SRNE owns 25%. Celularity presents first in human PNK-007 data at AACR on April 1st. Celularity is also eyeing an IPO and preliminary valuations indicate that the company is worth $2 billion, making Sorrento’s stake worth $500 million.
SRNE Merger News
Last week, Sorrento Therapeutics announced that its majority-owned subsidiary Scilex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Scilex) has closed a transaction to merge with Mountain View, California, based Semnur Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Semnur) to form a new company, Scilex Holding Company (Scilex Holding). Sorrento’s equity stake in Scilex (77%) has been converted into a 58% stake in Scilex Holding. Dr. Henry Ji, Chairman and CEO of Sorrento, said:
“This transaction is highly synergistic. Scilex has built up a commercial organization with over 100 highly experienced sales representatives, fully staffed marketing, market access, and medical liaison teams while Semnur has a very exciting Phase 3 compound in non-opioid pain management. The synergy is compelling on multiple fronts. With Semnur’s SP102, ZTlido and the RTX product lines, Sorrento is now well positioned to address an approximately $63 billion pain therapeutics market.”
Currently trading with a market cap of $680 million, SRNE is great for momentum and day traders. The stock has a history of making big moves. The next few days and weeks shall certainly be interesting for SRNE.
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Disclosure: We have no position in SRNE and have not been compensated for this article.