The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a $4.6 million contract to Sorrento Therapeutics to develop an in vitro diagnostic testing platform for biodefense, antimicrobial-resistant infections, and emerging infectious diseases, the firm said Tuesday.
The award, specifically from the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), supports the development of quantitative diagnostic technologies for pandemic preparedness, Sorrento Therapeutics said.
Under the contract, the firm will take aim at developing a platform for the rapid and sensitive detection of proteins and other biomolecules. The system would detect signatures from biothreat pathogens, as well as emerging or reemerging infectious disease pathogens.
San Diego-based Sorrento is a biopharma firm also developing therapies to treat cancer, pain, autoimmune disease, and COVID-19. To develop the diagnostic platform, the company plans to leverage expertise in rapidly selecting and producing highly specific antibodies that target viral and bacterial antigens.
The company plans to combine that expertise with chemical detection and technology similar to what's used in glucometers. Sorrento's subsidiary Virex Health has developed technology that electrochemically detects bioanalytes including virus analytes, proteins, and small molecules.