Sonnet BioTherapeutics (SONN) Climbs On Candidate Selection

Sonnet BioTherapeutics Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: SONN) is screaming for the top in the premarket hours this morning, and for good reason. The company said that it has selected a development candidate after completing comparative studies in a mouse melanoma model. Here’s what’s going on:

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SONN Stock Climbs On Candidate Selection

In the press release, Sonnet BioTherapeutics said that the new candidate represents Sonnet’s second bispecific compound that integrates Interleukin 12 with the company’s Fully Human Albumin Binding platform. 

SONN went on to explain that the candidate has been dubbed SON-1410 and will be targeting melanoma and renal cancers. 

In the mouse model, data proved to be overwhelmingly positive with the drug resulting in statistically significant tumor size reduction compared with placebo. The data also suggested a dose-dependent response. 

The company went on to explain that a separate study was performed comparing the selected version of the drug with two other candidates. The comparison data indicated significantly greater reduction in tumor volume, along with higher Interferon Gamma levels and immune cell response when using the selected candidate in comparison to other potential candidate. 

Management Commentary

In a statement, Pankaj Mohan, Ph.D., founder and CEO at SONN, had the following to offer:

Following our recently completed $30 million financing, we are excited to have identified this latest bispecific candidate, which is scheduled to enter the next stages of its development during the fourth quarter of 2021, with the objective of filing an IND in the second half of 2022. Our Scientific Advisory Board is very encouraged by these latest data and by the opportunity to further expand our work with IL-18 and IL-12, as we continue the buildout of our immuno-oncology pipeline.

The above statement was followed up by John K. Cini, Ph.D., CSO and Co-Founder at Sonnet. Here’s what he had to offer:

I am excited about IL18-FHAB-IL12 becoming our second bispecific candidate that utilizes IL-12. There appears to be synergy between these interleukins, as IL-18 upregulates the IL-12 receptor and IL-12 upregulates the IL-18 receptor. IL-18 also appears to increase chemokines CXCL9 and CXCL10. SON-1410 has the potential to make a cold tumor immunologically hot. Used with a checkpoint inhibitor, SON-1410 could synergistically enhance clinical efficacy. Bispecific assets on the FHAB platform offer targeted delivery to tumors and an extended half-life, potentially improving the therapeutic index for safety and tolerability with enhanced efficacy.

Finally, Richard T. Kennedy, M.D., CMO at SONN, had the following to offer:

The decision to move the SON-1410 construct forward is an important one for Sonnet, as we continue our search for novel, bispecific combinations with profound anticancer properties. IL-18 is a member of the IL-1 superfamily of cytokines that activates Th1 cells when combined with IL-12, as well as stimulating natural killer (NK) cells. The mouse data we generated demonstrate that SON-1410 represents a molecule that may harness IL-18 as a potentially effective therapeutic tool for oncologists.

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Final Thoughts

All told, the news released by SONN proved to be overwhelmingly positive. Adding a new candidate, targeting melanoma, is great news no matter how you slice it. Moreover, with the candidate performing well in comparative studies, it seems as though the company is on the right track, making the stock one to watch closely. 

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