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Sorrento to Form Joint Venture with CHA Biotech to Develop and Commercialize Natural Killer Cell Therapies

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: SRNE; "Sorrento"), an antibody-centric, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing new treatments for cancer and other unmet medical needs, announced today that it has entered into a binding term sheet to create a joint venture  ("JV") with CHA Biotech Co. , LTD,  (KOSDAQ: CHA; "CBT") of South Korea to develop and commercialize proprietary Chimeric Antigen Receptor ("CAR") modified cellular therapies based on CBT's Activated Killer Cell ("AKC") technology and five of  Sorrento's CARs for all disease conditions, including oncology and infectious diseases. The JV covers products on a global basis with the exception of the Greater Chinese market. 

In addition, Sorrento will obtain an exclusive license to develop and commercialize CBT's novel investigator-initiated trial stage AKC technology in major territories, including the United States, Europe, and with a co-exclusive license in China.

The AKC technology utilizes proprietary methodologies for the generation of highly activated, patient-derived Natural Killer (NK) Cells from 60 mL (60 cc or less than 3 fl. oz.) of peripheral blood. The expansion and activation process takes less than 3 weeks and yields sufficient cells for several treatment cycles. Notably, the resulting AKC product can be cryopreserved as efficient freeze-thaw protocols have been established. Thus far, more than 1,000 AKC batches have been produced and used in ongoing clinical studies in Japan. The treatment protocol does not require lympho-depleting preconditioning of the patients prior to administration of the AKC.  

Both CBT and Sorrento will make contributions of $2 million to the JV. In addition, Sorrento will grant the JV an exclusive license to five CARs solely for combination with the AKC technology, while CBT will contribute its AKC technology. CBT will initially own 51% of the JV while Sorrento will initially hold the remaining 49%. Sorrento, under a royalty bearing license, will also gain access to the AKC technology for use outside the JV alone or with any other Sorrento products.

"In the rapidly growing field of NK Cell-based therapies, CBT's AKC technology stands out as one of the most promising and advanced platforms. We are excited to jointly develop CAR-modified AKC with our partners from CBT," said Dr. Henry Ji, President and CEO of Sorrento.  Dr. Ji added, "We believe that NK Cell-based therapies have the potential to overcome safety and efficacy hurdles seen with current CAR-T products. The preclinical data as well as ongoing investigator- initiated studies for AKC have shown tremendous promise already and in our JV with CBT, we plan to develop the next-generation of AKC programs utilizing Sorrento's CAR technology. Sorrento will also drive the development and commercialization of AKC therapy in major markets working closely with our partners at CBT. We believe this will position Sorrento firmly at the forefront of Natural Killer Cell therapies."

"CHA Biotech is dedicated to discovering and developing innovative medical technologies with AKC being a leading example of our research and development excellence in the cellular therapy field. Our AKC technology requires only a small amount of patient blood to generate highly activated NK cells. The AKC can be frozen, stored, and shipped to the clinical sites where the cells are thawed and administered without loss of anti-cancer activity. Together we will be able to expedite the clinical product development as well as utilize Sorrento's CAR technology to enhance AKC's anti-cancer activity. The JV will be headquartered at our CHA Bio Complex, which is Korea's largest biomedical research center. We look forward to joining forces with Sorrento to deliver effective cellular immunotherapies to cancer patients worldwide," commented Jong-soo Choi, CEO of CHA Biotech.

About Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. 

Sorrento is an antibody-centric, clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing new treatments for cancer, inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Sorrento's lead products are multiple late-stage biosimilar and biobetter antibodies, as well as clinical CAR-T therapies targeting solid tumors.

About CHA Biotech

CHA Biotech, also referred to as CHA Bio&Diostech, is a leading biopharmaceutical company headquartered in South Korea with R&D focus in stem cells, cell therapeutics, medical device, and new drug development. The company is a member of CHA Health Systems Group, which comprise of medical university, medical centers and hospitals located in the US and Korea with in excess of two thousand beds under care, stem cell research centers, personal & preventive medicine and bio venture divisions. CHA Bio&Diostech has multiple stem cell R&D pipelines in therapeutic areas including Stargardt's disease, age-related macular disease, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer disease, Cerebral Palsy and glioblastoma in mid to late development stages. With seasoned experience and research infra structure, CHA Bio&Diostech has built up multiple strategic relations with major research institutions in the field of stem cell research and infertility areas. For more information visit: www.chabio.com

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 proposed joint venture with CBT and the license of the AKC technology;  expectations for Sorrento's and its subsidiaries  technologies and collaborations; 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, 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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SOURCE Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc.