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

Snapshot

Summit Therapeutics' potential breakthrough targets C.difficile

test tubes

Quick facts: Summit Therapeutics PLC

Price: 22 GBX

AIM:SUMM
Market: AIM
Market Cap: £35.31 m
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  • Developing new-mechanism antibiotics
  • Lead drug targets C.difficile
  • Phase III studies already underway
  • Well-funded thanks to biotech billionaire Bob Duggan investment of US$50mln in December

What Summit Does

It 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. Next-generation drugs are at a premium. The US, for example, last approved a new mode of action antibiotic 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, the Summit product has advanced to a final-stage studies. These are designed to support the right label for treating CDI and reducing recurrences.

But to do so, the Phase III trials, which kicked off in February, will have to show superiority over the standard of care, an antibiotic called vancomycin.

Using its Discuva Platform, Summit has also identified two novel targets to kill the gonorrhoeae bacteria. Its lead candidate from this stable is SMT-571.

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Inflexion Points

Summit Therapeutics inked a US$50mln funding deal with biotech billionaire Bob Duggan, who now owns a controlling 72.8% stake in the business. In December, Duggan bought 166mln more newly minted shares for 22.1p each, having already invested US$25mln just under a year ago.

This will help get ridinilazole through its phase III clinical trials. The ongoing clinical and regulatory development of Ridinilazole is also being supported by a contract from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). This potentially provides up to US$62mln of funding, with US$44mln under contract, including a $12mln option that was exercised by BARDA last August.

On the clinical trial front, top-line data isn’t expected until the second half of 2021 – so this is a something of a slow burn.

Blue Sky

In February, boutique investment house Bryan Garnier & Co initiated coverage on Summit with a 155p a share price target. This year so far, the stock has traded no higher than 33p.

What piqued BG’s interest? Well, the new mechanism driving Ridinilazole. A note from the French house read: “In this era of growing threats to health and medical practice coming from ever more resistant super strains of antibioticresistant bacterial, it is timely that Summit Therapeutics is driving new mechanism antibiotics into clinical development.”

 

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