Arch Biopartners (OTC:ACHFF) (TSX:ARCH.V) is a clinical-stage, Canadian company focused on new technologies aimed at making medical or commercial impact. Currently, Arch is pursuing new drug candidates that inhibit inflammation in the lungs, liver and kidneys—which could have an impact both in the near term with the fight against COVID-19, while also having longer-term implications for a variety of other indications.
Arch Biopartners is a Canadian company whose stock is traded both on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol ARCH.V in Canada and on the OTCQB Venture Exchange under symbol ACHFF in the United States. Arch Biopartners was formed in 2010 after having been a private company operating under the name Arch Biotech for four years prior to that. Arch’s CEO, Richard Muruve, is also the co-founder of Arch Biotech and is still with the company, while the other co-founder is also still with the company and is the Chief Science Officer-Dr. Daniel Muruve.
Under their leadership, Arch Biopartners works closely with the scientific community, universities and research institutions to advance and build the value of select pre-clinical technologies, develop the most promising property and attempt to create value for investors. As mentioned above, Arch is currently pursuing drug candidates aimed at inhibiting inflammation in human organs and believes that the company’s LSALT Peptide has the potential to deliver a major breakthrough in the treatment of diseases where inflammation plays a major role.
The drug furthest along in the pipeline along these lines is Metablok—which is an LSALT Peptide (LSALT), which is a drug that binds to DPEP1 (enzyme dipeptidase-1) but does not inhibit its biologic enzymatic activity, potentially minimizing adverse effects. Metablock is a novel drug candidate that targets acute organ inflammation in the lungs, liver and kidneys, which is common in moderate to severe cases of Covid-19. A potentially important development as in the worst cases, fatalities are often linked to severe acute lung inflammation and subsequent respiratory failure or acute kidney injury and renal failure.
Metablock has completed Phase II trials with promising signs. One Phase II finding provided a first-ever signal that the DPEP1 is a significant therapeutic target for acute lung inflammation in Covid patients and was well tolerated with no safety issues. Further, adjusting for age, body mass index (BMI) and measure of lung disease severity, Arch reported that the difference in ventilation-free days was 6.7 days, favoring the LSALT group vs. the placebo.
As a result of the apparent success of the Phase II trials, Metablock became the first novel therapeutic to join the Canadian Treatments for COVID-19 (CATCO) trial. CATCO is a multi-center adaptive, randomized, open-label, controlled clinical trial involving 65 Canadian hospitals and is part of the World Health Organization’s SOLIDARITY program, which is an international collaboration to identify life-saving treatments for COVID-19. The CATCO trial will evaluate Metablock on the basis of results from its Phase II trial. It will include a 320 patient group to confirm safety and efficacy as a treatment for hospitalized COVID patients with the primary endpoint being the difference in the number of respiratory-free days between study groups during the 28-day study period. It is also important to note that this drug could also be relevant for other medical indications—such as sepsis.
While Metablock is certainly the most promising drug in the near term, Arch Biopartners has other drugs in the pipeline that are worth keeping an eye on:
➢ AB569-a candidate for treating or preventing antibiotic resistant bacterial infections, primarily in the lungs and wounds.
➢ Borg: Peptide-solid surface interface—Binding of proprietary peptides to solid metal and plastic surfaces to inhibit biofilm formation and to reduce corrosion.
➢ MetaMx—proprietary synthetic molecules that target brain tumor initiating cells and invasive glioma cells.
As Arch Biopartners is a clinical-stage research company with no drugs completely through the approval process yet, the company has no sales revenue at this point. But the company has received income in the form of grants from the Canadian government as they look to support home-grown companies with innovative technology. For example, in December 2020, Arch Biopartners was awarded a contribution of up to $6.7 million from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada—payable on a contingent basis over time. As of June 30, 2021, Arch’s current asset balance was approximately $2.7 million, up from $1.8 million posted a year ago. The company has no capital expenditure commitments as they use third parties for research and development facilities. The company mainly uses research grants and equity issuance for funding needs but has also used some short-term debt financing to help bridge the gap between funding rounds.