The mere mention of a coronavirus vaccine has created incredible interest in names like Sorrento Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SRNE). After all, if a company can get a vaccine to market, businesses and schools may be able to fully reopen. Millions of people could get the protection they desperately need. And the world can put a stop to the coronavirus, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people. It would be a big boost to SRNE stock or its peers.
At the moment, related stocks are just running on progress excitement. Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA), Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO) Novavax (NASDAQ:NVAX), BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX), Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) … plenty of names in the race have seen big gains.
Sorrento Therapeutics has also been explosive, running from $3.38 at the end of 2019 to a current price of $10.20. From here, if the company can get something to market, SRNE could rally back to $19.39 52-week highs.
After all, there’s plenty to get excited about.
Now all it has to do is bring something to market – or investors could lose interest quickly.
Sorrento Therapy May Hold Promise in Treating the Coronavirus
Granted, the company is still in pre-clinical testing. But investors have been encouraged by its small-molecule Salicyn-30, which, according to the company has demonstrated viral-load reduction in pre-clinical lab testing.
“We see high potential value for this new small molecule inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 either as a standalone therapeutic or used in conjunction with the proprietary neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) STI-1499 and affinity matured STI-2020 being developed by our Company,” according to Dr. Henry Ji, Sorrento’s Chairman and CEO.
While this development isn’t a game-changer just yet, news of progress has forced the SRNE stock even higher. Further encouragement could send the SRNE stock even higher.
The U.S. FDA Just Cleared Sorrento to Proceed with Phase 1 Trials
Helping quite a bit, the U.S. FDA cleared the company to proceed with Phase 1 trials for COVI-GUARD (STI-1499) in hospitalized patients.
There’s some progress here, too.
According to the company said STI-1499 demonstrated 100% in vitro neutralizing effects against the virus in pre-clinical studies. The study is expected to enroll quickly, followed by potential Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) submission by end of year.
SRNE Stock Adds to Its Pipeline
The company also entered into a license agreement with Personalized Stem Cells Inc. to acquire global rights to its “adipose derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for patients suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) associated with COVID-19, which have been cleared for a Phase 1 clinical trial by the FDA,” according to a recent Sorrento press release.
This could be a big deal for the company, considering there are no current treatments for ARDS, which is a form of lung failure. It can also lead to death, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
While There’s Reason to Be Encouraged, There are Big Risks
While Sorrento Therapeutics has an impressive pipeline, it needs to bring something to market.
After all, with plenty of other companies nearing a potential treatment, the clock is ticking. If Sorrento can’t get something moving soon, investors could lose interest – and fast. In short, proceed cautiously with SRNE stock.
Investors will only be willing to ride anticipation of good news for so long with this stock.
If it can get something to market – and soon — the stock could explode. In fact, according to Motley Fool contributor George Budwell, the market has Sorrento’s 2021 high-end revenue estimate at $3 billion, because of its Covid products.
That’s a good deal of potential for the company that can easily be blown if it can’t get its act together.
I’d proceed cautiously with the SRNE stock for now. If you buy in, I’d set a tight stop loss in case the company can’t get its act together, near-term. Hope can only fuel so much upside in this stock.
On the date of publication, Ian Cooper did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Ian Cooper, an InvestorPlace.com contributor, has been analyzing stocks and options for web-based advisories since 1999. As of this writing, Ian Cooper did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.