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Revive Therapeutics (RVV.C) finds pharma asset under the couch that may treat COVID-19

03/20/2020

When new sectors emerge, as cannabis did in 2013 and psychedelics are doing right now, microcap companies that have struggled in other sectors will often pivot into new business. Miners become weed companies, then biotech companies, then shroom companies, as boards and management pursue new opportunities that might one day prove better than the last.

Revive Therapeutics is one of those, a company that you could dismiss as being a perennial new industry chaser if you were so disposed. You could also give the company credit for being nimble and not so stuck to one business model they could be dragged under by it’s eventual failure.

Right now, Revive is one of the early entrants to the burgeoning shrooms/psychedelics/psilocybin industry, a business that is so early it’s not yet legal. Again, if you were so disposed, you could roll your eyes at that. After all, plenty of people dismissed weed in 2013, when it too was still illegal, though just months away from exploding in interest.

There are plenty of indicators to suggest the shroom movement will land quicker than medical marijuana did. Court cases that could see it legalized for medical reasons are pending. Research is being done. Silicon Valley investing is hundreds of millions into it. Cops are avoiding arresting people for it. Dispensaries are opening up.

Either way, for many in that early stage business, even the best case scenario would suggest the next few years will be sans revenue.

Revive might not have to wait so long because, a few business model iterations ago, it possessed a drug called Bucillamine.

Revive Therapeutics Ltd. is exploring the use of the drug Bucillamine as a potential novel treatment for infectious diseases including influenza and the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The company has applied for a provisional patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office entitled “Use of Bucillamine in the Treatment of Infectious Diseases” (serial No. 62/991,996)..

Bucillamine is in practical use in Asia as a clinically approved medication – just not for COVID-19 specifically and not yet in North America and Europe.

That’s mostly because Revive ran out of juice a few years back when it was chasing Bucillamine approval.

Deep Dive has more.

This isn’t the first time that the company has explored uses for that of Bucillamine, which has been used for over thirty years in South Korea and Japan to combat rheumatoid arthritis. The company has previously gone as far as conducting a Phase 2 study on the use of the drug for the purposes of treating acute gout flares, which was accepted by the FDA under an investigational new drug (IND) application. Revive also previously explored the use of the drug for cystinuria for which it received orphan drug status.

Those I’ve talked to at the company tell me Bucillamine’s potential use for influenza was known back in the day but not pursued because the FDA approval pipeline doesn’t allow for broad use. You have to pick your target and zero in and demonstrate your drug works for that specific thing, and flu was already something fairly well dealt with back in the day, so arthritis and gout were the go-to rationales for bringing Bucillamine to market.

Or, they were, until COVID-19 came along.

Today, with the international economy grinding to a halt, there’s reason to pursue that which wasn’t worth bothering with previously.

For Revive CEO Michael Frank, that’s right in his company’s wheelhouse.

“Revive was founded on the premise of finding new uses for known drugs, and we are expanding on our rich product portfolio to target infectious diseases such as the coronavirus disease or Covid-19,” he said in a company news release today.

You can dig in deeper and get all the clinical jargon you want right here, but the TL/DR on this is:

Bucillamine (N-(mercapto-2-methylpropionyl)-l-cysteine), which has a well-known safety profile and is prescribed in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in Japan and South Korea for over 30 years, is a cysteine derivative with two thiol groups that is 16-fold more potent than NAC as a thiol donor in vivo, giving it vastly superior function in restoring glutathione and therefore greater potential to prevent acute lung injury during influenza infection.

There are a whole lot of drugs and treatments out there for a thousand different diseases and infections and symptoms that never make it through the 5-year half-billion dollar FDA approval process. Sometimes they sit for decades until someone finds a new use for them, or a disease unfolds that brings them back to useful.

This appears to be one of the latter.

Whether Bucillamine works as hoped on COVID-19 is still up in the air, and it may never be shown to be effective for that purpose, but being able to rifle through the filing cabinet and find something that, at it’s best use, may literally save the world, is quite the trick for a microcap shroom stock that just raised $1.6 million.

Also worth noting: This company didn’t just show up last week with a couple of Howe Street money guys looking for an excuse to tack COVID-19 into a news release like these assholes. Revive was a full blown pharma company with ten patents previously and ran clinical trials and has as much expertise in that area as they do their current primary reason for business.

They understand the pharma approval process and how to progress a treatment, and anyone who thinks their ‘pivots’ from pharma to cannabis to shrooms show a lack of stick-to-it-iveness are missing the point that combines all of those sectors, writ large across the Revive website:

Straight pharma, weed, and shrooms are all part of the same business – the business of novel medicines.

Most likely, if we’re honest, Revive won’t get to the place where they’re putting Bucillamine on drug store shelves next to the Cold-FX. If what they say about the potential for this drug is true, they’ll get their patent and license the IP out to someone with a much fatter war chest and a government mandate to make with a COVID treatment, stat, at any cost.

At a current market cap of just $4.4 million, with the shroom business model tossed in and a range of other IP in the background, I’m going to say if you’re looking for COVID-ready stocks with low buy-in levels that are unlikely to be impacted by macroeconomic downturns in any significant way, that have ample cash in hand and can weather the upcoming storm while finding a willing partner for their drug, this is a really interesting table bet.

Which is why I bought in.

— Chris Parry

FULL DISCLOSURE: Revive is an Equity.Guru client and the author owns stock in the company, and may buy more at current cost levels.

 

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