Sorrento Therapeutics Inc. is a development-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of disease conditions such as cancer, inflammation, metabolic disease and infectious disease. The company today announced it has entered into an antibody discovery and development collaboration with The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

Per the agreement, Sorrento will obtain exclusive, worldwide rights to Scripps Research’s novel quorum sensing-based technology, which was developed to prevent and treat Staphylococcus aureus (commonly known as Staph) infections, including Methicillin-resistant Staph. aureus (MRSA). MRSA’s resistance to antibiotics makes it a concern to healthcare officials. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 94,000 cases of acute MRSA infections in the United States led to 19,000 deaths in 2005.

“We are impressed by the promising animal data presented by our colleagues at Scripps Research and are pleased to collaborate on the development of human vaccines and fully human antibody therapeutics to help address the important public health issue of MRSA infections,” Dr. Henry Ji, chief scientific officer of Sorrento stated in the press release. “This discovery program represents a novel approach to fighting MRSA, and we also see interference with quorum sensing as a more general approach to address the serious issue of antibiotic resistance beyond MRSA.”

According to the press release, Sorrento will use its quorum sensing-based technology to identify fully human antibody candidates that disrupt the biological communication processes of MRSA.
“We have published that antibodies targeting the quorum sensing process are protective against MRSA infections in established animal models,” Dr. Kim Janda of Scripps Research stated. “Sorrento Therapeutics’ human antibody library will be a critical resource in identifying fully human antibodies that can be developed into clinical therapeutics against MRSA.”