July 9, 2013, 9:00 a.m. EDT
SAN DIEGO and BEER-SHEVA, Israel, July 9, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (otcqb:SRNE)(otcqb:Sorrento) and B.G. NEGEV TECHNOLOGIES AND APPLICATIONS LTD. announced today that they have entered into an option and license agreement covering several fully human anti-Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) antibody clones identified, in the laboratory of Dr. Leslie Lobel, M.D., Ph.D., from patients who have recovered from HCV infections. Sorrento plans to develop these early findings into a potential therapeutic product. This collaborative effort utilizes the respective strengths of each organization to create an important product opportunity consisting of therapeutic and/or prophylactic agents against HCV infections. Sorrento will be responsible for developing the perspective anti-HCV antibody products.
"Sorrento has already achieved many successes using its proprietary G-MAB� library to identify, characterize and develop fully human antibodies against difficult targets relevant to infectious agents. We are excited to be working with Dr. Lobel to add a program targeting HCV to our existing portfolio of therapeutic antibodies for the prevention and/or treatment of major infectious diseases", said Henry Ji, Ph.D., President and CEO of Sorrento.
"We are pleased to be collaborating with Sorrento to develop our fully human anti-HCV antibody clones into potential anti-HCV therapeutics", said Leslie Lobel, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
About Hepatitis C Virus Infections
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 170 million people worldwide are chronically infected with HCV, including approximately 3.2 million people in the United States. The combined incidence and prevalence of HCV infection is estimated to reach over 13 million people in the United States, EU, and Japan alone, of which only 13% are estimated to be diagnosed and treated. In 2009, the total annual medical costs in the United States for people with hepatitis C are estimated to reach over $30 billion. In the next 20 years, total annual medical costs are expected to increase to approximately $85 billion.
HCV is spread through direct contact with contaminated blood and ultimately leads to serious liver diseases, including liver damage, cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer which are all long term consequences of untreated chronic HCV infection. Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplantations in the United States and is reported to contribute to 15,000 deaths annually., With proper treatment, chronic hepatitis C can be cured; however, patients remain at an increased risk for progressive liver disease if they have not achieved complete viral clearance.,
About Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc.
Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. is a publicly-traded, development-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery, acquisition, development and commercialization of proprietary drug therapeutics for addressing significant unmet medical needs in the Unites States, Europe and additional international markets. Sorrento Therapeutics' primary therapeutic focus is oncology but it is also developing therapeutics products for other indications, including inflammation, metabolic, and infectious diseases. Sorrento Therapeutics' proprietary G-MAB� fully-human antibody library platform was designed to facilitate the rapid identification and isolation of highly specific antibody therapeutic product candidates that bind to disease targets appropriate for antibody therapy. More information is available at www.sorrentotherapeutics.com
About Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Created in 1969 with the mandate to bring development to the region, BGU is internationally-recognized for its unique pioneering spirit that combines outstanding academics and research with a commitment to the community. With more than 20,000 students, five Faculties and a number of internationally-acclaimed research institutes, the University has become a world leader in interdisciplinary research in cutting-edge fields that range from desert studies to nano- and biotechnology, Hebrew literature to international medicine.
About B.G. NEGEV TECHNOLOGIES AND APPLICATIONS LTD
BGN Technologies is the technology transfer company of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, responsible for the commercialization of know-how and inventions of the University's researchers. Through the development of novel technologies and creative partnering with industry and investors, BGN brings value to the technological marketplace. BGN files worldwide patent applications and manages BGU's large patent portfolio.
This press release contains forward-looking statements subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Words such as "assumes," "plans," "believes," "expects," "anticipates," and "will," and similar expressions, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements about the clinical trial results from third parties, and the preclinical and clinical development of Sorrento's human antibody therapeutics. All such forward-looking statements are based on Sorrento's current beliefs and expectations, and should not be regarded as a representation by Sorrento that any of its plans will be achieved. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in this press release due to the risks and uncertainties inherent in Sorrento's businesses; the scope and validity of patent protection for Sorrento's platform technologies, and the risk that the development or commercialization of product candidates may infringe the intellectual property rights of others; the potential that Sorrento may require substantial additional funding in order to obtain regulatory approval for and commercialize Sorrento's proprietary G-MAB� fully-human antibody library platform technologies or product candidates; and additional risks set forth in Sorrento's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements represent Sorrento's judgment as of the date of this release. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement and Sorrento undertakes no obligation to revise or update this press release to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof. This caution is made under the safe harbor provisions of Section 21E of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
 BioMedTracker, DataMonitor, 2013. Pyenson B, Fitch K, and Iwasaki K. Consequences of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV): Costs of a Baby Boomer Epidemic of Liver Disease. Milliman, Inc. May 2009 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hepatitis C Fact Sheet: CDC Viral Hepatitis. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HCV/PDFs/HepCGeneralFactSheet.pdf Updated June 2010. Volk MI, Tocco R, Saini S, Lok, ASF. Public health impact of antiviral therapy for hepatitis C in the United States. Hepatology. 2009; 50(6):1750-1755. Ly KN, et al. The Increasing Burden of Mortality From Viral Hepatitis in the United States Between 1999 and 2007. Ann Intern Med. 2012; 156:271-278. Morgan TR, Ghany MG, Kim HY, Snow KK, Lindsay K, Lok AS. Outcome of sustained virological responders and non-responders in the Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment Against Cirrhosis (HALT-C) trial. Hepatology. 2008; 50(Suppl 4):357A (Abstract 115). Veldt BJ, Heathcote J, Wedmeyer H. Sustained virologic response and clinical outcomes in patients with chronic hepatitis C and advanced fibrosis. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2007; 147: 677-684.
SOURCE Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc.