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Summit Therapeutics PLC: DEEP DIVE

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

Summit Therapeutics' potential breakthrough targets C.difficile
test tubes
OVERVIEW: SUMM The Big Picture
Summit is nurturing its flagship drug Ridinilazole through the clinical trial process
  • Developing new-mechanism antibiotics
  • Lead drug targets C.difficile
  • Phase III studies already underway
  • Recent cash infusion means it is well-funded
  • Potentially significant backing from America’s Biomedical Advanced Research & Development Authority

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, and works to kill its target by stopping cell division.

Having successfully navigated a Phase II assessment of its potential, 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.

Inflexion Points

Arguably one value kicker potentially not fully understood by the market was the US$25mln investment by US billionaire Bob Duggan, who in December agreed to take a 48.8% stake in the company.  At this point, the market was assimilating the fallout from the failure of the most advanced drug in Summit’s portfolio, Ezutromid. Some experts would argue Duggan got a bargain (see Blue Sky section).

Possibly also not particularly well understood is the fact that the ongoing clinical and regulatory development of Ridinilazole is 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 burner.

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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