Press releases

  • Sorrento Therapeutics Announces Closing of its Acquisition of Virttu Biologics

    Date: 28/04/2017

    SAN DIEGO, April 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: SRNE, "Sorrento") announced today the closing of a transaction whereby its cellular therapy focused subsidiary, TNK Therapeutics, Inc. ("TNK"), has acquired Virttu Biologics Limited ("Virttu").

    As announced by Sorrento on November 16, 2016, TNK and Virttu entered into a binding term sheet setting forth the terms and conditions by which TNK would purchase all of the issued and outstanding equity of Virttu. In consideration for the acquisition, Virttu equity holders received an aggregate of 797,081 shares of common stock of Sorrento based on a $5.55 price per share and reimbursement of certain legal fees and will be eligible to receive an additional approximately $20 million in stock of TNK shares should TNK close a third party equity financing of at least $50 million in proceeds within 12 months of the closing of this transaction. If a financing in TNK has not occurred within 12 months of the closing of this transaction, the equity holders of Virttu will be issued an aggregate of approximately 3,600,000 of Sorrento common stock based on a $5.55 price of Sorrento common stock. Additionally, Virttu will be eligible to receive two additional milestone payments of up to id="mce_marker"0 million based on the two first marketing authorizations of Seprehvir® to occur in the US, EU or Japan. Each of the two marketing authorization milestone payments will be for $5 million payable in cash, Sorrento common stock, the common stock of another publicly traded company, or a combination thereof to be determined by TNK at the time that a regulatory milestone is triggered.

    Virttu, based in Glasgow, Scotland, is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of oncolytic virus therapy for the treatment of cancer. Virttu's lead product candidate Seprehvir® (HSV1716) is derived from a modified version of the common human herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). Seprehvir® has been designed with the ability to specifically target and destroy tumor cells while also stimulating an anti-tumor T-cell mediated immune response. As part of its global clinical program, Seprehvir® has been administered to over 100 adult and pediatric patients in a variety of solid tumors including glioblastoma, mesothelioma, melanoma, head and neck cancer, pediatric sarcomas and pediatric neuroblastomas.

    Sorrento believes that a key advantage of Seprehvir®, as compared to other HSV based oncolytic therapies, is that it has been safely administered systemically, intravenously, intratumorally and by loco-regional infusion to specifically tailor the therapy to a patient's needs. In the 5 completed Phase I studies, Seprehvir® was well tolerated, with fever, fatigue and lethargy reported as mild (Grade 1 and 2) and transient. There were no major toxicities associated with Seprehvir® and no reactivations of latent HSV infection.

    "With the acquisition of Virttu, we are adding another clinical-stage asset to our pipeline of immunotherapies. Due to its unique characteristics, we believe Seprehvir® has the potential for broad therapeutic application across various cancer indications and will be synergistic with TNK and Sorrento clinical candidates, including our checkpoint inhibitors and cellular therapies. We are currently evaluating both monotherapy and antibody combination studies utilizing Seprehvir® in both adult and pediatric patients as well as seeking regulatory guidance for this program. We expect to initiate a Phase II clinical study of Seprehvir® after these discussions," said Dr. Henry Ji, President and CEO of Sorrento.

    "We believe in Seprehvir® and its ability to treat and help cancer patients worldwide. I would like to thank the inventor of the technology, Professor Moira Brown OBE, our dedicated scientists and my investors. We are very pleased that Sorrento will be our partner in taking Seprehvir® to the next phase of its journey, to become an approved treatment against cancer," said David Crossland, investor in Virttu.

    "We are delighted to announce the completion of TNK's acquisition of Virttu. The combination of our oncolytic backbone combined with Sorrento's extensive G-MAB™ fully human antibody library represents a powerful union for the next generation of multi-modality immunotherapies. We look forward to working closely on developing Seprehvir®'s approval pathway and moving our next generation into the clinic," Daniel Young, Chief Commercial Officer of Virttu.

    About Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc.

    Sorrento is an antibody-centric, clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing new treatments for immuno-oncology, inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Sorrento's lead product candidates include immunotherapies focused on the treatment of both solid tumors and hematological malignancies, as well as late stage pain products.

    About TNK Therapeutics, Inc.

    TNK Therapeutics is a subsidiary of Sorrento Therapeutics that is focused on the development and commercialization of cellular therapies to address unmet medical needs in oncology. TNK technologies harness the adaptive and innate immune system by reprogramming immune cells to recognize and efficiently kill cancer cells. TNK's most advanced cellular therapy is T-007, a proprietary, second generation anti-CD38 CAR-T therapy, which is in IND-enabling studies for the treatment of multiple myeloma. T-007 is based on a fully human anti-CD38 mAb derived from Sorrento's G-MAB antibody library.

    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. and its subsidiaries 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 the developments of and prospects for the field of oncolytic therapies and Virttu Biologic's technologies and products, including Seprehvir®; Sorrento's expectations for its technologies and acquisitions; Sorrento's expectations for any of its clinical programs and studies; Sorrento's and its subsidiaries' prospects; and other matters 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, 2015, as amended, and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2016, 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.

    Sorrento® and the Sorrento logo are registered trademarks of Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc.

    All other trademarks and trade names are the property of their respective owners.

    © 2017 Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  • Data demonstrating that SEPREHVIR (VIRTTU BIOLOGICS) combines syergistically with Anti-PD-1 Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor to be presented at AACR's Advances in Pediatric Cancer Research

    Date: 09/11/2015

    November 9, 2015, Glasgow, UK: VIRTTU Biologics, a clinical stage oncolytic immunotherapeutic company developing SEPREHVIR, a tumor-targeted herpes simplex vector, is pleased to announce the presentation of a poster by a key collaborator, Dr Tim Cripe (Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio), at AACR in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 10, 2015.

    Two clinical trials in pediatric oncology are ongoing using SEPREHVIR. One in non-CNS solid tumors including neuroblastoma and sarcoma (NCT00931931) uses systemic and intratumoral delivery, the second in high grade gliomas (NCT02031965) involves peritumoral injection after surgery.

    Entitled "Checkpoint Blockade Enhances Oncolytic Herpes Virotherapy in Immunosuppressive Sarcoma Models", this poster describes marked synergy between SEPREHVIR and an anti-PD-1 antibody in an immunocompetent, PD-L1 positive rhabdomyosarcoma model. As single-agents, SEPREHVIR and an anti-PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitory antibody showed moderate tumor growth delay with no complete responses. Strikingly, these two therapies combined synergistically to produce superior efficacy, substantially reducing tumor growth with significantly prolonged overall survival and complete responses. Notably the combination therapy did not recruit more T cells but induced more inflammatory responses in a less immune regulatory/suppressive environment. Overall, these data suggest the combination of PD-1 and oncolytic herpes virotherapy may be an effective treatment strategy for some cancers.

    “SEPREHVIR’s targeted mode of action, very good tolerability profile and multiple routes of administration facilitate combinatorial strategies with diverse anti-cancer agents, and this poster illustrates this with a checkpoint inhibitor” commented Dr. Deirdre Gillespie CEO at VIRTTU. “As single agents checkpoint inhibitors show excellent results in a subset of patients. Combination with SEPREHVIR, which induces anti-tumor immunotherapeutic activity in patients may have the potential to convert patients to check point inhibitor ‘responders’. We have seen similarly compelling SEPREHVIR synergistic combination data with multiple anti-cancer agents which supports the clinical testing of these combinations".


    Dr. Deirdre Gillespie, CEO, Virttu Biologics.
    M: +44 (0)7984 054366


  • Virttu Biologics shows robust evidence of immunological activity in mesothelioma patients following Seprehvir administration, results to be presented at Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC)

    Date: 05/11/2015

    November 5, 2015   

                    - Clinical data from mesothelioma patients identifies evidence of immunological efficacy with robust Th1 cytokine responses post SEPREHVIR administration

                        - Preclinical data on enhanced systemic targeted delivery demonstrates that SEPREHVIR arming of the magnetic macrophage carriers converts them from benign to aggressive, anti-cancer types.

    Glasgow, UK: Virttu Biologics, a clinical stage oncolytic immunotherapeutic company developing SEPREHVIR, a tumor-targeted HSV, are pleased to announce the presentation of two posters at SITC's 30th Anniversary Annual Meeting on November 4th-8th. Abstracts were published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, Nov 4th 2015

    Dr Deirdre Gillespie, CEO at Virttu says "These two posters provide strong data to support both the efficacy and flexible administration of SEPREHVIR. Sample analysis from our ongoing mesothelioma trial adds to our growing body of evidence that clearly demonstrates SEPREHVIR's potential for immunological efficacy by inducing Th1 cytokine signatures and inducing novel anti-tumor immune responses. While administered loco-regionally in the mesothelioma study, SEPREHVIR is also being used systemically in the clinic. Preclinical work building on systemic administration has confirmed that not only can “magnetic” SEPREHVIR-armed macrophages be successfully guided by MRI from the circulation to target tumor sites, but they arrive in an activated state capable of directly attacking tumor cells. We are committed to creating innovative medicines, through internal discovery and collaborations that fully leverage the benefits of our proprietary SEPREHVEC platform"

    Poster 1 is entitled "Immune responses following intrapleural administration of oncolytic HSV SEPREHVIR® in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma” and describes results from our ongoing clinical trial involving intrapleural administration of our oncolytic immunotherapeutic SEPREHVIR in mesothelioma patients (NCT01721018). In principal, data from the analysis of sequential pleural fluid samples post-SEPREHVIR administration has identified a robust Th1 cytokine response and the appearance of  novel anti-tumour IgG responses in most treated patients, thus confirming SEPREHVIR's potential for immunological efficacy.
    Poster 1 will be presented by Virttu CSO, Joe Conner, on Friday 6th November, 1245-1400.

    Poster 2 is entitled "Use of magnetic resonance targeting to steer OV-loaded cell-based therapies to tumour sites in vivo", arises from our ongoing collaboration with Munitta Muthana and Prof Claire Lewis at University of Sheffield (UoS), UK. The poster builds upon data recently published in Nature Communications (Muthana et al. 2015. Directing cell therapy to anatomic target sites in vivo with magnetic resonance targeting Nature Communications 6, Article number: 8009 doi:10.1038/ncomms9009) which described efficacy in an orthotopic, metastatic prostate cancer model using human macrophages, targeted with magnetic nanoparticles and armed with SEPREHVIR, delivered systemically and directed to tumor sites using a MR targeting technique. The poster extends these findings by demonstrating an additional therapeutic benefit to the macrophage delivery vehicle as SEPREHVIR clearly converts the macrophage carriers from a benign, quiescent form to an aggressive anti-cancer-type associated with tumor rejection.
    Poster 2 will be presented by Munitta Muthana (UoS), on Friday 6th November, 1245-1400.


    Dr. Deirdre Gillespie, CEO, Virttu Biologics.
    M: +44 (0)7984 054366


  • Virttu Biologics announces appointment of Deirdre Y. Gillespie as Chief Executive Officer

    Date: 19/10/2015
    London, UK, 19 October 2015 – Virttu Biologics, a clinical stage biotechnology company pioneering the discovery and development of unique oncolytic immunotherapies for systemic and intra-tumoural delivery treatment of cancer, today announced that Deirdre Y. Gillespie, M.D. has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Dr. Gillespie has over 25 years of executive management and clinical experience in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals in the US and UK.
    Dr. Gillespie’s previous experience with oncolytic vectors includes Chief Executive Officer of Oxxon Therapeutics, Inc., from 2001 to 2006, a privately held pharmaceutical company spun out of Oxford University and ultimately acquired by Oxford Biomedica.
    Dr. Gillespie is former President and Chief Executive Officer of publicly held La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company and Chief Operating Officer of Vical, Inc., both NASDAQ-listed companies. Dr. Gillespie also held a number of senior strategic and commercial positions at DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company including Vice President of Marketing, and at Sandoz Pharma AG (Novartis), in clinical development.
    Dr. Gillespie is a physician and has BSc degree in pharmacology and therapeutics from London University, and a MBA from the London Business School.
    Commenting on the appointment, Founder of Virttu, Gary Hamilton says “Based on both our long term and most recent research, we are confident in our lead product SEPREHVIR®, and our next generation oncolytic immunotherapies’ potential in the fight against cancer. We are thrilled that Dr. Gillespie is joining us, we are looking forward to her capitalizing on our academically strong science and clinical data.”
    “I am delighted to have accepted the role of CEO of Virttu Biologics and to build on the already strong foundations that are in place” said Dr. Gillespie. “I am excited to drive the business forward by validating SEPREHVIR’S great potential in the treatment of cancer through definitive clinical trials, and take advantage of the compelling progress Virttu has made in advancing its platform technology”.
    Dr. Deirdre Gillespie, CEO, Virttu Biologics.                                                                                                                
    M: +44 (0)7984 054366

  • Virttu's CSO, Joe Conner presented at The International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference in New York

    Date: 01/09/2015

    Virttu Biologics presented two posters at the CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR Inaugural International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference, Translating Science into Survival 2015 in New York on Friday 18th Sept.

    The posters were entitled "Cytokine responses following intrapleural administration of oncolytic HSV Seprehvir® in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma" and "Evaluation of attenuated HSV1716 in combination with chimeric antigen receptor T cells for solid tumors"

    The inaugural meeting is sponsored by the field leaders, The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT), the European Academy of Tumor Immunology (EATI), and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and Virttu are excited by this opportunity at this prestigious meeting.

    The first poster, entitled "Cytokine responses following intrapleural administration of oncolytic HSV Seprehvir® in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma", presents results from our ongoing clinical trial involving intrapleural administration of our oncolytic immunotherapeutic Seprehvir® in mesothelioma patients (NCT01721018). Data presented from analysis of sequential pleural fluid samples post-Seprehvir administration has identified a robust Th1 cytokine response and the appearance of a novel anti-tumour IgG responses in most patients, thus confirming Seprehvir's immunotherapeutic potential.

    The second poster, entitled "Evaluation of attenuated HSV1716 in combination with chimeric antigen receptor T cells for solid tumors", arises from our ongoing collaboration with Samuel Haile and Crystal Mackall at NIH, Bethesda, USA. Evidence is presented that Seprehvir (HSV1716) can combine and potentiate CAR-T cell activity with Seprehvir-induced intra-tumoral inflammation triggering T cell expansion in solid tumors.

    Dr Joe Conner, CSO at Virttu says, "This is an exciting time for immunotherapies and oncolytic virus in particular and it's a fantastic opportunity to showcase our data on patient immune responses and immunotherapy combinations at this influential meeting".