​A Research Triangle Park-based biotech company specializing in finding drugs to fight antibiotics has raised $1 million in a private equity offering, according to a filing Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Arrevus Inc. raised the money from one investor, according to the filing. It is seeking to raise another $500,000.

Proceeds will be used for working capital, which may include compensation for its executive officers.

Arrevus is focusing its drug development efforts on those diseases for which antibiotic resistance has important clinical implications and for which few therapies exist. These efforts are dedicated to the development of designer proline-rich antimicrobial peptide chaperone protein inhibitors.

Carl Kraus is the founder and chief executive officer of the company. Kraus has held scientific and management roles in the pharmaceutical industry, including i3Research, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, where he served as senior director of infectious diseases.

He also worked at PRA International, where he was the global scientific head for infectious diseases.

He most recently served for three years as the chief medical officer for Nanotherapeutics, a biodefense-oriented biotechnology company, where he was responsible for oversight and management of the scientific and regulatory affairs, pharmacovigilance, and clinical operations groups.

The Arrevus pipeline

Insects are incredible survivors. Not only have they survived for close to 400 million years, but they have done so with a low “speciation rate” as well as a low “extinction rate”; they are well-suited to their environment. Many questions surround their success; the ones surrounding their success regarding infectious diseases, however, interest Arrevus. Given their short life spans, insect rely on innate (rapid) immune response and not on adaptive responses. 

A critical element to the innate response are host antimicrobial peptides which are small, anti-infectious peptides released quickly to host infectious threats. Previous studies have demonstrated that in response to an experimental infection of insects, seven to ten inducible antimicrobial peptides are generated and released into insects’ circulatory system. While the antibacterial peptides made by a single insect are not homologous at all, many other species produce peptides very similar to these peptides in size and composition; the most active against Gram-negative bacteria being “proline-rich” antimicrobial peptides (PrAMPs).

The question initially posed was straightforward then:  if many other species produce peptides of similar size and composition, are there amino acid residues that are conserved across species?  When we designed ARV-1502, we first aligned the sequences of all known native PrAMPs in insects. The most frequent residues were identified in their specific relative positions.  These residues resulted in distinct “partial” sequences that were then integrated into a single peptide, becoming Arrevus’s lead product, ARV-1502 (aka, APO; “APO” an acronym for “All Peptides Optimized”). Essentially, we are capitalizing on very slow throughput screening by nature, over millions of years, to identify peptide regions that we have integrated into compounds for use in human infectious diseases, against pathogens to which these peptides have already been optimized, through evolutionary pressure.  These sequences serve as rational drug designs that leverage evolution to hopefully, limit the development of resistance, and bolster clinicians’ toolbox against the growing threat of antibiotic resistant infections.

Source: Arrevus