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Summit well-funded as it gears up for ridinilazole phase III trial early next year

Summit has £13.0mln in the bank, while its drugs have also been backed financially by external organisations keen to see new treatments come through
WHO recently called antibiotic resistance one of the biggest threats to global health”

Summit Therapeutics PLC (LON:SUMM) has told investors it is well-funded as it gears up to begin phase III trials of its ridinilazole C. difficile treatment in the first quarter of next year.

AIM-quoted Summit has previously said that recruitment will take around two years, with the first results coming back in early 2022, give or take a few months.

WATCH: Summit Therapeutics to begin Phase 3 studies of ridinilazol this quarter

Earlier studies have suggested that the precision antibiotic can target C. Diff bacteria without also damaging the natural gut flora. It has also been shown to be better than the current gold standard, vancomycin.

With a healthy bank balance of £13.0mln (Jan 18: £20.1mln), there is plenty of money in the bank to fund operations until next September, according to bosses.

There is also another £14mln (US$18mln) potentially available to Summit from BARDA – a division of the US Department of Health and Human Service which is keen to see more treatments come through.

Gonorrhoea treatment identified, too

After the disappointment of its Ezutromid Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug earlier this year, Summit has reinvented itself to become an antibiotics specialist.

Ridinilazole is at the forefront, but Summit, using its Discuva platform, has identified a potential treatment for gonorrhoea – a sexually transmitted infection which affects an estimated 78mln people every year.

READ: Summit presents data on new gonorrhoea treatment

Summit’s compound – SMT-571 – is set to enter a phase I clinical trial in the second half of 2019 and the study will be supported by the US$4.5mln it received from CARB-X, a US programme designed to accelerate the development of new antibiotics.

‘Funding shows promise of candidates’

“The promise of two of our product candidates has been recognised through separate funding awards,” said chief executive Glyn Edwards.

“Ridinilazole continues to garner support from the US government agency, BARDA, which committed a further US$12mln of the up to US$62mln award.”

He added: “We [also] received non-dilutive funding from the public-private partnership CARB-X for SMT-571, our product candidate for the treatment of gonorrhoea.

“We selected SMT-571 as our clinical candidate in the third quarter of 2018 for its selectivity for and potency against N. gonorrhoeae, including multi-drug resistant strains.”

Most recently, the Discuva platform has also yielded “multiple” potential ways to kill hospital-acquired superbugs such as MRSA.

Summit said it has been able to identify genes which are essential for such pathogens to survive, information which it is using to try to develop new drug candidates.

The update came alongside the third-quarter results, during which Summit recorded a loss of £8.1mln compared with a loss of £0.9mln for the year-ago period.

The loss for the current quarter was impacted by a non-cash charge related to the acceleration of share-based payment expense resulting from the surrender of share option awards, the firm said.

Summit shares fell 6.6% to 17.1p in mid-afternoon trading on Tuesday.

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