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Summit Therapeutics well placed in race to find next-generation antibiotic


What Summit does

Summit Therapeutics PLC is developing new-mechanism antibiotics for the treatment of serious infections.

The market for these drugs is potentially huge, given the growing resistance to current treatments, with next-generation drugs at a premium with the US, for example, last approving an antibiotic with a new mode of action in 2003.

Against this backdrop, Summit is nurturing its flagship drug ridinilazole through the clinical trial process. Ridinilazole was created specifically to tackle C.difficile, one of the most common bacteria.

Having successfully navigated a Phase II assessment of its potential, which showed the drug can kill C.difficile infections while preserving healthy microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract, final-stage studies are now underway.

How it is doing

Summit Therapeutics inked a US$50mln funding deal with biotech billionaire Bob Duggan in December, which gave him a controlling 72.8% stake in the business. He already owned 49% of Summit having invested US$25mln at the end of 2018.

With Summit cancelling its AIM listing at the end of last year and completing the process in February, executive chairman Duggan is leading the charge to get ridinilazole through its phase III clinical trials.

On the clinical trial front, top-line data isn’t expected until the second half of 2021.

The ongoing clinical and regulatory development of the C.Diff treatment is also being supported by a contract from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for funding the advancement of the precision drug.

In January, BARDA agreed to pump a further US$8.8mln into the programme, taking the total value of the award to US$72.5mln.

In February, Summit also received a US$1mln milestone payment from Eurofarma Laboratorios SA after enrolling initial patients at trial sites in Latin America as part of the phase-III trials.

What the boss says: Bob Duggan

“Targeted antibiotics have the potential to improve the way infectious diseases are treated by targeting the infectious bacteria and minimising the damage of the healthy and protective microbiome,” Duggan said in December.

“In C. difficile infection, the selective targeting of the infectious bacteria has significant potential to reduce recurrence and improve patient outcomes.

“I look forward to being part of the Summit team to realise the full potential of these medicines in bettering patients’ lives.”

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