Candidate: Ranpirnase


Type: Broad spectrum anti-viral agent designed to catalyze the degradation of RNA, and mediate several essential biological activities, including the regulation of cell proliferation, maturation, differentiation, and cell death.

Status: Orgenesis on June 22 said it agreed to develop its severe COVID-19 candidate Ranpirnase through a collaboration with Leidos whose value was not disclosed. Leidos has submitted to the FDA a pre-IND meeting request to fast track Ranpirnase for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2.

Leidos’ request came after Ranpirnase showed itself significantly effective in killing SARS-CoV-2, with an eight-fold average decrease in the number of plaque-forming units when cultures with Ranpirnase were compared to the controls treated with a placebo. That outcome came from in vitro studies assessing Ranpirnase in SARS-CoV-2, conducted by Leidos at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center Regional Biocontainment Laboratory and George Mason University National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases.

Orgenesis obtained Ranpirnase by acquiring Tamir Biotechnology for approximately $21 million in cash and stock, in a deal completed April 27. More than 1,000 patients had been dosed with Ranpirnase in previous clinical trials for mesothelioma, where the drug showed a strong safety and tolerability profile. Ranpirnase has also shown preclinical antiviral activity in viral diseases that include cytomegalovirus (CMV), influenza, HIV, Ebola, and SARS.

COVID-19: 200 Candidates and Counting

To navigate through the >200 potential therapeutic and vaccine options for COVID-19, GEN has grouped the candidates into four broad categories based on their developmental and (where applicable) clinical progress:

FRONT RUNNER – the most promising therapeutics/vaccines based on clinical progress, favorable data or both.

DEFINITELY MAYBE – earlier phases with promising partners, or more advanced candidates in development that have generated uneven data.

KEEPING AN EYE ON… – interesting technology, attracting notable partners, or both, but preliminary data.

TOO SOON TO TELL – longshots pending additional experimental and/or clinical data.

GEN has also tagged the most common treatment types: