Sorrento Therapeutics Inc. announced today that its research grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health, supporting the development of novel human antibody therapeutics to combat Staphylococcus aureus or Staph infections, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), was renewed for the second year of a two year Phase I grant award.

For 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 94,000 serious invasive MRSA infections occurred in the U.S. and more than 19,000 Americans died from these infections. A 2009 study from Duke University Medical Center looking at MRSA infections associated with surgery found a 35-fold increased risk of hospital readmission, a 7-fold increased risk of death, and more than $60,000 of additional charges per infected patient compared with uninfected patients.

“The STI team, together with our academic collaborator Dr. Jovanka Voyich at the Montana State University, has done tremendous work in identifying and characterizing fully human anti-AIP antibodies. Our lead antibody has demonstrated significant protection in relevant infection models, including localized skin infection and lethal peritonitis. said Barbara Swanson, Ph.D., the principal investigator on the grant and a director of research at STI.

— SDBJ Staff Report