Back at the dawn of Covid-19, a load of public companies started pumping out news releases that claimed they were going to be entering the medical space. In the best tradition of Howe Street, long dormant mining companies suddenly became med-tech deals, hawking everything from clear plastic checkout counter dividers to virus sniffing doorways to paper masks.
Remember when you couldn’t buy toilet paper? Remember when people were hoarding hand sanitizer and profiteering on Amazon?
But one company took more heat than most back then, for moving into a space that, many considered, it was ill suited for. Having already taken spins in cannabis and psychedelics, Revive Therapeutics (RVV.C) announced a drug it held the rights to, Bucillamine, was now in trials to treat Covid.
People laughed. They mocked. They treated Michael Frank like a clueless pump and dump greaseball.
“What’s next, cocaine?” was one comment we received when we wrote Revive up. “This company can’t stay on one thing long enough to be taken seriously,” said another.
But here’s the thing: Revive never changed it’s business model, only the elements it was using to enact that model.
To this day, Revive’s website refers to itself as “a life sciences company focused on the research and development of therapeutics for rare disorders and infectious diseases.”
The website said that during the cannabis boom, when Revive’s cannabinoid pharmaceutical portfolio was looking at rare inflammatory diseases and granted FDA orphan drug status designation for treating auto-immune hepatitis (liver disease) and to treat ischemia and reperfusion injury resulting from organ transplantation.
That’s still a thing today.
And the website still said the above when the psychedelics market opened up and Revive bought a company that was in the business of advancing Psilocybin-based therapeutics in various diseases and disorders and was looking to take advantage of FDA regulatory incentives in the areas of Orphan Drug, Fast Track, Breakthrough Therapy and Rare Pediatric Disease designations.
That’s still a thing today.
And the website still said that when Covid broke, and Michael Frank went looking through the data on a handful of drugs the company owned before the cannabis boom took hold, and found Bucillamine might – just might – be useful in treating the pandemic.
The people, they mocked him. “First pharma, then cannabis, then shrooms, now covid? Pick a lane!” they said.
But Michael Frank had picked a lane. He’d never left it. The lane was “a life sciences company focused on the research and development of therapeutics for rare disorders and infectious diseases.”
Those therapeutics could be existing drugs, of which they had some patents. They could be CBDs, of which they had patents. They could be psychedelics. They could be MDMA, which the company has begun research on via a transdermal patch (sign me up).
Whatever the formulation, whatever the delivery systems, it all fit under that one banner, and Revive, just quietly, ran the table on stock price valuation over the subsequent months, as that early mocking moved to quiet respect and, finally, profits.
Revive went from $0.03 when we first talked about it, to as high as $0.45 by the time our contract with the company was up.
As 2020 neared its conclusion, the stock rose over $0.90, good for a $200 million-plus valuation. Everyone who had bought in up to that date had made money. Every single investor. Some had turned a 20x.
Alas, Revive wasn’t to hold at that price forever. Covid evolved, and by the time Bucillamine was at the final FDA hurdle, we had vaccines in hand that had largely quelled the wave of urgency Revive was riding.
Revive looked at reformulating Bucillamine as new strains took hold, and there’s good things to be had there to this day, but that $200m valuation seemed less defensible as we rolled through quarantine and out the other side.
The stock continued to hold for the most part, over several years, but now folks are interested in shinier things, to the point where, when Revive releases massive news, the market doesn’t see it (more on that later).
Michael Frank, however, can hold his head high.
He saw an opportunity to build a large company with patented tech and formulations that, it turned out, were capable of saving the world, even if they couldn’t get over the line in time to be the one doing so. Frank took his company from a $10 million valuation to a $200 million valuation, not through gormless hype but through advancing a drug formulation through the FDA trial process, quickly, efficiently, and properly.
I’ll repeat it for those in the back not paying attention: All the way up from $0.03 to $0.90, everyone made money. Everyone who reads Equity.Guru and bought while we were talking about RVV, you also made money.
But, over the next two years, those gains slowly drifted away. Revive today is back where it started from, only now its list of patents and drugs and concepts is voluminous while the urgency to own it is not.
That’s shown in the news release just posted by Revive, that mentions a potentially transformational deal with the Canadian military.
“Revive Therapeutics Ltd. has entered into an agreement with Defence R&D Canada — Suffield Research Centre (DRDC), an agency of the Canadian Department of National Defence, to evaluate bucillamine as a potential treatment for nerve agent exposure. The DRDC will fund the research project, which is expected to begin in early Q1 2024.”
That’s pretty easy to understand. I don’t have to get ChatGPT to dumb it down for you or tell you about it like you’re 5.
The Canadian military is going to research Bucillamine to see if it can help treat nerve agent exposure.
The military will pay for that research. Revive will watch with glee, knowing if the research pans out, they’ll be earning millions. And if it doesn’t, heck, they’ll just have a load more data on Bucillamine to continue exploring all the other ways it can be used.
Which is something they’re doing currently:
“Under an agreement with the University of Waterloo, formulation development is ongoing and aims to be completed by the end of December 2023 [..] The Company intends to explore the novel Bucillamine formulation as a potential treatment for public health medical emergencies including, pandemic influenza, emerging infectious diseases, and medical countermeasure incidents and attacks. In addition, as a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, Bucillamine may be useful for orphan indications in rare inflammatory disorders such as ischemia-reperfusion injury resulting from solid organ transplantation.”
Three fucking cents. A potentially $200 million company, with more assets, patents, and clinical trial data now than it’s ever had before – PLUS – a research agreement with the Canadian military, and it’s priced at the same level it was priced at when all it had was CBDs and exposure to early shroom deals.
Michael Frank wasn’t selling paper masks. He wasn’t blowing smoke. Bucillamine does the things he said it did, and a lot of people got very wealthy along the way – it just couldn’t work its way through the system fast enough to stick, but opportunities still exist for this drug, and Frank hasn’t stopped working just because Covid stopped being a shiny thing.
Put it on your watchlist. There’s more going on here than you know.
— Chris Parry
FULL DISCLOSURE: Revive Therapeutics is an Equity.Guru marketing client and we own stock in the company
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