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Summit Therapeutics well backed for next phase of development

Phase III trials of its next-generation antibiotic began last month
woman at microscope
Ridinilazole will be tested against the standard of care drug vancomycin

Summit Therapeutics PLC’s (NASDAQ:SMMT) (LON:SUMM) prelims revealed the company is well-funded and well-backed after taking its next-generation antibiotic into the final and decisive stage of clinical trials.

The Phase III study of ridinilazole began last month (February). It will be tested against the standard of care drug vancomycin in patients with c.difficile, with the intent of showing it should be used as front-line treatment against the infection.

WATCH: Summit Therapeutics advancing its pipeline of innovative antibiotics

Successful Phase II trials revealed ridinilazole preserved the gut flora known as the microbiome in the way vancomycin doesn’t.

Financial results for the 12 months to the end of January showed Summit was sitting on almost £27mln of cash at the period-end.

BARDA backing 

The development of ridinilazole is being supported by a contract with the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) potentially worth £47mln (US$62mln).

Of that, £33mln ($44mln) has been committed, including a £9.1mln ($12mln) option that was exercised last August.

Summit has also been awarded up to £3.4mln ($4.5mln) by CARB-X, a public-private partnership, that will be used to develop its pre-clinical candidate for gonorrhoea.

The company made a profit for 2018 of £5mln (compared with a £24mln loss in 2017) as it recognised all the deferred revenues from an agreement it had with NASDAQ-listed Sarepta Therapeutics.

This followed the decision to stop work on the company’s other drug candidate, ezutromid, which had been developed for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

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