(Reuters) – Sorrento Therapeutics Inc on Friday partnered with New York City’s Mount Sinai Health System to develop an antibody cocktail to potentially treat or prevent COVID-19, with the aim of starting human trials in the third quarter.

There are currently no treatments or vaccines approved for the coronavirus and several drugmakers have been rushing to develop new treatments or repurpose existing drugs to treat patients.

Regeneron currently leads the effort to develop an antibody cocktail and has said its experimental therapy may be available for use as early as the end of summer as it ramps up efforts to start human trials in June.

The collaboration with Mount Sinai gives Sorrento access to a pool of antibodies against COVID-19 obtained from nearly 15,000 individuals screened by the hospital group.

Each dose of the drug candidate would deliver a cocktail of three antibodies, which is expected to provide protection against the virus for up to two months, said Sorrento that markets a non-opioid pain therapy ZTlido.

The company is also looking to develop an antibody cocktail that could potentially extend the protective benefit to over a year, Chief Executive Officer Henry Ji told Reuters.

Sorrento, which has several treatments in development, including four immuno-oncology therapies, said it is completing the requirements for its application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin early-stage testing in humans.

(Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)