Little-known Reviva attracts a big angel crowd for $12M CNS round

A low-profile biotech based in San Jose, CA, has managed to piece together a $12 million round from dozens of angel investors willing to back its work on a new schizophrenia treatment. Reviva Pharmaceuticals filed a Series D with the SEC recently detailing a contribution of more than $12 million from 82 investors backing its mid-stage program, which is due to deliver data any day now.

Launched back in 2006 under CEO Laxminarayan Bhat, Reviva announced back in mid-January that it had completed enrollment in a Phase II study of RP5063, which the biotech describes as a dopamine-serotonin system stabilizer with a long list of potential targets, including Alzheimer's, depression, Parkinson's and bipolar disorder. A total of 234 patients signed up for the study.

The biotech had noted that it would have the mid-stage data in hand sometime last month, but so far hasn't issued a release on the results. Reviva is treading where a growing number of Big Pharma companies are unwilling to go. AstraZeneca's ($AZN) latest restructuring, its third in three years, included another step back from the field, where it's seen repeated trial failures. And GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) started the trend several years ago, when it singled out depression as one of the CNS sectors it would steer clear of after determining that there were too many unknowns to consider when advancing new therapies.

As big potential partners have withdrawn, venture backers have grown increasingly wary as well. But Reviva seems to have found a crowd of believers in the big angel group, which has sustained a number of biotech startups.

"We are optimistic that the results of this trial will establish clinical proof of concept on safety and efficacy to reveal RP5063 as a promising therapeutic option for treating schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder," Bhat said in a statement back in January. 

- here's the Series D report