Reviva Pharmaceuticals has obtained $4.8 million in financing to keep developing its treatments for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and other diseases.
The financing, in the form of a loan that can be converted to stock, will help Reviva continue preparing for new clinical trials of its lead therapy, RP5063, Dr. Laxminarayan Bhat said in a press release. He is the company’s founder, president and chief executive officer.
Reviva expects to begin a Phase 2 study of RP5063 for PAH in coming months.
RP5063 modulates the brain’s serotonin and dopamine receptors. Serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters, or substances that send signals from one nerve cell to another. Serotonin plays a key role in the workings of the brain, lungs and heart, and faulty serotonin signaling is thought to be involved in the development of PAH.
In preclinical-trial studies using animal models of PAH, researchers discovered that RP5063 improved lung functioning. It lowered pulmonary-artery blood pressure, decreased the lungs’ resistance to breathing, and brought blood oxygen levels back to normal. It also significantly reduced high levels of proteins known as cytokines that are believed to be associated with PAH.
Another finding was that RP5063 reduced pulmonary artery vessel-wall thickness and the thickness of muscular tissue.
Reviva presented the results of the studies at the American Thoracic Society International Conference in San Francisco in May 2016.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Orphan Drug designation to RP5063 as a PAH treatment in November 2016. Reviva is already holding clinical trials to test the compound as a treatment for psychosis.
Meanwhile, the company announced that it has added Purav Patel to its board of directors. Patel, who has a degree in biology and business from the University of Texas, has been an investor in Reviva since 2009.
In addition to understanding the company’s journey and its future, he has worked directly with Reviva management to secure four rounds of financing.
“I am very pleased to become a member of Reviva’s Board of Directors,” Patel said. “Having closely associated with Reviva as an investor for the last seven years, I strongly believe in Reviva’s science, and recognize the potential of its drug candidates to address unmet medical needs. I look forward to bringing my experience and expertise to serve on Reviva’s board and work with management in achieving its business goals.”