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Sorrento’s COVID-19 Antidote Could be a Game Changer, Says Analyst

Sorrento’s COVID-19 Antidote Could be a Game Changer, Says AnalystHow do we protect those at the frontline facing COVID-19 head on? Sorrento Therapeutics (SRNE) is on it.Looking at billions of antibodies, the company identified a small group that demonstrated the ability to block the S1 protein's interaction with human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the receptor used for viral entrance into human cells. Based on this, SRNE wants to develop an antibody cocktail against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, that is still effective even if mutations occur.Weighing in for Dawson James, analyst Jason Kolbert tells clients that SRNE’s antibody, STI-1499, has already exhibited a strong performance in an early clinical setting. Expounding on this, he stated, “What was also equally impressive was the low dose, which suggests the antibody ‘fits’ its target extraordinarily well and, as such, can work at a very low dose. This could translate into the ability to scale up rapidly to millions of treatments at a very effective cost of goods.”It should be noted that the company is set to develop STI-1499 as part of this “antibody cocktail,” known as COVISHIELD, with it hoping to discuss the best pathway to make any potential treatment available as quickly as possible with regulators. Kolbert added, “Through the U.S.'s Project Warp Speed, it's possible we could see STI-1499 move rapidly to commercialization.”Adding to the good news, management said that it has the capacity to produce up to two hundred thousand doses per month. While the current goal is to manufacture a million doses, the company thinks it can produce tens of millions of doses in a short timeframe.Speaking to the market opportunity, Kolbert commented, “We see a significant market opportunity in treating frontline workers (doctors, nurses and other mission critical personnel, as well as occupants of military ships at sea) to prevent and treat COVID infection. If we assume pricing below Remdesivir ($4,000) and a million doses equals a $4 billion opportunity for this potential antidote.”STI-1499 isn’t the only thing the company has going for it. Through its majority owned position in Scilex, SRNE is working on several non-opioid pain management therapies including resiniferatoxin, a toxin that ablates afferent nerves, as well as Scilex SP-102, an epidural steroid injection designed as a treatment of sciatica pain. It also boasts cell therapy programs that target both solid and liquid tumors.To this end, Kolbert initiated coverage on Sorrento shares with a Buy rating, while setting a $24 price target. This target puts the upside potential at a whopping 373%. (To watch Kolbert’s track record, click here)Judging by the consensus breakdown, it has been relatively quiet when it comes to other analyst activity. Only one review has been issued recently, and it was bullish, so the consensus rating is a Moderate Buy. (See Sorrento stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for healthcare stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.