Sorrento collaborates with Mabpharm on development and commercialization of ACE-MAB™ to potentially treat COVID-19

  • ACE-MABTM is a proprietary bi-specific fusion protein that binds to the spike protein of coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV, which is expected to block SARS-CoV-2 from binding and infecting respiratory epithelial cells or ACE2-expressing cells to interrupt the viral life cycle
  • ACE-MAB is in the cGMP cell line development stage by our strategic partner, Mabpharm Limited, and could be ready for large-scale production in Mabpharm’s 30,000 m2 cGMP facilities in China for human clinical trials and commercialization upon receipt of requisite regulatory approvals
  • Sorrento has been granted an exclusive license to develop and commercialize the ACE-MAB product candidate in the North American and European markets

SAN DIEGO, CA, USA I March 24, 2020 I Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: SRNE, "Sorrento") today announced it has entered into an exclusive license agreement with China-based antibody biopharmaceutical company, Mabpharm Limited (Hong Kong Stock Exchange: 2181HK, “Mabpharm”), for the clinical development and commercialization of the ACE-MAB fusion protein (Sorrento’s product code name STI-4920 and Mabpharm’s product code name CMAB020) for the potential treatment of COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Mabpharm has generated a fusion protein (CMAB020) that binds to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Designed as a bi-specific fusion protein, ACE-MAB has two functional arms. One arm (Ab) is a fully human antibody that targets the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 with high affinity. The other arm (TR) is a truncated ACE2 protein that binds to a different epitope of the spike protein. The ACE-MAB fusion protein could also block the receptor binding domain (RBD) with CD147 to mitigate lung inflammation and cytokine storm. The dual-arm design could be a unique advancement, potentially providing binding to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that is sufficient to prevent the virus from invading normal human cells. ACE-MAB retains the ACE2 enzymatic function, which could provide benefits such as reduced vasoconstriction and increased blood flow to infected lung tissue. The ACE2 arm competes with RBD binding to respiratory epithelial or other cells. It should preserve the ACE2 enzymatic activity, which is important in maintaining normal blood pressure and healthy blood flow into patients with infected lung tissue, which would include patients with advanced COVID-19 disease.

Under the exclusive license agreement, Sorrento will focus on the development and commercialization of ACE-MAB in the North American and European markets, while Mabpharm retains rights in the rest of the world, including the China and Japan markets.

“The license of the ACE-MAB fusion protein from our partner Mabpharm provides Sorrento with yet another potential therapeutic agent to combat COVID-19,” stated Dr. Henry Ji, Chairman and CEO of Sorrento Therapeutics. “Since the breakout of COVID-19, Sorrento has built a broad product candidate pipeline for the potential vaccination and treatment of COVID-19. We are looking forward to further evaluating the safety and efficacy in IND-enabling preclinical studies and clinical trials and making these potentially Life-Saving medicines available to the vast population affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

About Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. 

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”, “DAR-T”), intracellular targeting antibodies (“iTAbs”), antibody-drug conjugates (“ADC”), and clinical stage oncolytic virus (“Seprehvir®”). 

Sorrento's commitment to life-enhancing therapies for patients is also demonstrated by our effort to advance a first-in-class (TRPV1 agonist) non-opioid pain management small molecule, resiniferatoxin (“RTX”), and ZTlido® (lidocaine topical system) 1.8% for the treatment of post-herpetic neuralgia. Resiniferatoxin is completing a phase IB trial for intractable pain associated with cancer and a phase 1B trial in osteoarthritis patients.  ZTlido® was approved by the FDA on February 28, 2018.

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About Mabpharm Limited

Mabpharm is a leading biopharmaceutical company in China, focusing on the development and production of new drugs and biosimilars for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. Mabpharm is committed to bringing high-quality and affordable innovative biopharmaceuticals to the market through an efficient research and development system and low-cost pharmaceutical production capabilities, and fully utilizes its rich research and development experience to develop a variety of therapeutic products.

Mabpharm has strong internal research, preclinical and clinical development capabilities, with a special focus on the development and manufacturing of monoclonal antibodies. The members of Mabpharm's core R & D team have more than 16 years of experience in this field. Mabpharm's 30,000 m2 production facilities in Taizhou and Shanghai are one of the largest antibody drug production facilities in China by capacity.

SOURCE: Mabpharm

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