News Release

Sorrento and Researchers at Karolinska Institutet Have Signed a Research Collaboration Agreement on iPSC-Derived Dimeric Antigen Receptor-Modified Natural Killer (DAR-NK) Cells With The Vision To Bring “Off-The-Shelf" NK Cell-Based Cancer Treatments Rapidly To Patients

June 4, 2021 at 1:00 PM EDT

SAN DIEGO and STOCKHOLM, June 4th, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: SRNE, "Sorrento") today announced that the Company has entered into an additional collaborative agreement with NextGenNK Competence Center-associated research groups at the Department of Medicine, Huddinge, Karolinska Institutet (“KI”) in Stockholm, Sweden, aimed at producing novel cell-based therapeutics using natural killer (“NK”) cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (“iPSCs”). Sorrento and KI are collaborative partners in the Competence Center for the development of next-generation NK cell-based cancer immunotherapies (“NextGenNK”) coordinated by KI.

Under the agreement, Sorrento will provide know-how in the core chimeric antigen receptor (“CAR”) and dimeric antigen receptor (“DAR”) technologies and support the collaborative effort to develop new CAR-NK and DAR-NK candidates, as well as fund the translational validation of the technologies. Multiple product candidates will be developed and tested in the initial phase of the planned work, with the goal that the candidate products will qualify for further human clinical trials.

The foundational Sorrento research assets critical to this program are novel proprietary CAR and DAR constructs identified through Sorrento’s proprietary G-MAB™ fully human antibody library and previously validated as determinants of cell-based therapy potency against hematologic and solid tumors.

“It is a privilege to continue and extend our collaborative work with the distinguished KI faculty. We are proud to contribute our technologies to produce new optimized off-the-shelf adoptive NK cell immunotherapies", said Dr. Henry Ji, Chairman and CEO of Sorrento. "Our partnership with KI combines our know-how with the expertise of a world-renowned institution in the field of NK cell therapy. These types of partnerships are essential in advancing medicine and bringing new solutions to cancer patients in need.” 

KI scientists within NextGenNK will establish iPSC-derived NK-based therapeutic candidates utilizing Sorrento’s constructs and DAR technology. Work within KI has contributed to the development of methodologies that consistently generate robust and potent NK cell lineages following iPSC differentiation. Clinical trials of NK cell-based therapies for treatment of multiple myeloma led by researchers at KI have yielded promising preliminary results with long-lasting remissions. In a very cross-knit collaboration between Sorrento and KI, the team will aim to establish novel allogeneic, off-the-shelf, retargeted NK cell-based therapies.

Utilizing iPSCs enables mass production of off-the-shelf NK cell therapies that leverage Sorrento’s existing manufacturing infrastructure and know-how. Sorrento expects these validated re-engineered NK cell-based therapeutic candidates could potentially become a new generation in off-the-shelf treatments for cancer and infectious diseases. The core research will be performed at Karolinska Institutet with active involvement of the Sorrento R&D team in San Diego.  

“The present collaboration brings together key competence from Sorrento and KI in an important area of cancer immunotherapy research. Sorrento’s intellectual contribution to the research at the Competence Center is a critical piece in enabling retargeted off-the-shelf NK cell products”, said Evren Alici, Principal Investigator at KI.

“This is an important step in further enabling academic and industrial partnerships in the mission of achieving common goals for advancement of novel cancer immunotherapies,” said Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren, Director of the NextGenNK Competence Center.

About Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. 

Sorrento is a clinical stage, antibody-centric, biopharmaceutical company developing new therapies to treat cancers and COVID-19. Sorrento's multimodal, multipronged approach to fighting cancer is made possible by its extensive immuno-oncology platforms, including key assets such as fully human antibodies (“G-MAB™ library”), clinical stage immuno-cellular therapies (“CAR-T”, “DAR-T™”), antibody-drug conjugates (“ADCs”), and clinical stage oncolytic virus (“Seprehvir™”). Sorrento is also developing potential antiviral therapies and vaccines against coronaviruses, including COVIGUARD™, COVI-AMG™, COVISHIELD™, Gene-MAb™, COVI-MSC™ and COVIDROPS™; and diagnostic test solutions, including COVITRACK™, COVISTIX™ and COVITRACE™. 

Sorrento's commitment to life-enhancing therapies for patients is also demonstrated by our effort to advance a first-in-class (TRPV1 agonist) non-opioid pain management small molecule, resiniferatoxin (“RTX”), and SP-102 (10 mg, dexamethasone sodium phosphate viscous gel) (SEMDEXA™), a novel, viscous gel formulation of a widely used corticosteroid for epidural injections to treat lumbosacral radicular pain, or sciatica, and to commercialize ZTlido® (lidocaine topical system) 1.8% for the treatment of post-herpetic neuralgia. RTX has completed a Phase IB trial for intractable pain associated with cancer and a Phase 1B trial in osteoarthritis patients. SEMDEXA is in a pivotal Phase 3 trial for the treatment of lumbosacral radicular pain, or sciatica. ZTlido® was approved by the FDA on February 28, 2018. 

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About Karolinska Institutet

Karolinska Institutet is one of the world’s leading medical universities. Our vision is to advance knowledge about life and strive towards better health for all. Karolinska Institutet accounts for the single largest share of all academic medical research conducted in Sweden and offers the country’s broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet selects the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine.

For more information about Karolinska Institutet, visit

For more information about NextGenNK, visit

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release and any statements made for and during any presentation or meeting contain forward-looking statements related to Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc., under the safe harbor provisions of Section 21E of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding Sorrento’s and KI’s to bring “off-the-shelf” NK cell-based cancer treatments to patients; Sorrento’s and KI’s ability to produce novel cell-based therapeutics using NK cells derived from iPSCs; Sorrento’s and KI’s ability to develop new CAR-NK and DAR-NK candidates and to validate such technologies; the expectation that the collaborative effort will result in the development and testing of multiple product candidates and that any such product candidates will qualify for human clinical trials; the ability of KI scientists to establish iPSC-derived NK-based therapeutic candidates utilizing Sorrento’s constructs and DAR technology; the expectation that utilizing iPSCs will enable mass production of off-the-shelf NK cell therapies; the potential for Sorrento to be able to use its existing manufacturing infrastructure and know-how to mass produce any off-the-shelf NK cell therapies; the potential for re-engineered NK cell-based therapeutic candidates to become a new generation in off-the-shelf treatments for cancer and infectious diseases; and the therapeutic potential of iPSC-derived NK-based therapeutic candidates.  Risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially and adversely from those expressed in our forward-looking statements, include, but are not limited to: risks related to Sorrento's and its subsidiaries’, affiliates’ and partners’ technologies and prospects and collaborations with partners, including, but not limited to: risks related to seeking regulatory approvals; clinical development risks, including risks in the progress, timing, cost, and results of clinical trials and product development programs; risk of difficulties or delays in obtaining regulatory approvals; risks that clinical study results may not meet any or all endpoints of a clinical study and that any data generated from such studies may not support a regulatory submission or approval; risks that prior test, study and trial results may not be replicated in future studies and trials; risks of manufacturing and supplying drug product; risks related to leveraging the expertise of its employees, subsidiaries, affiliates and partners to assist Sorrento in the execution of its therapeutic antibody product candidate strategies; risks related to the global impact of COVID-19; and other risks that are described in Sorrento's most recent periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Sorrento's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, and subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the risk factors set forth in those filings.  Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this release and we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement in this press release except as required by law.

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Media and Investor Relations Contact

Alexis Nahama, DVM (SVP Corporate Development)


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G-MAB™, DAR-T™, SOFUSA™, COVIGUARD™, COVI-AMG™, COVISHIELD™, Gene-MAb™, COVIDROPS™, COVI-MSC™, COVITRACK™, COVITRACE™ and COVISTIX™ are trademarks of Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc.

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