Summit Therapeutics loses R&D president after BARDA funding boost

Summit Therapeutics' shares dropped on the London-based exchange on the news it lost a head R&D executive. (Pixabay)

What a difference a day makes in biotech: Yesterday, antibiotics player Summit Therapeutics was riding high after an $8.8 million cash infusion from the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

The boost comes as it is gearing up for a new clinical trial of its lead asset, an antibiotic for Clostridium difficile infection, as one of only a handful of players in this much needed, but much neglected (and troubled) area.

But off the back of this, the company gave a very brief update today saying David Roblin has “resigned as Chief Operating Officer, Chief Medical Officer and President of R&D” as of the end of the month. No reason or successor has been named.

“David has been instrumental in establishing our leadership position in new mechanism antibiotic development and launching our Phase 3 clinical trials of ridinilazole for the treatment of C. difficile infection,” said Glyn Edwards, CEO of Summit. “We are grateful to David for building a strong team that will continue to advance Summit’s important work and wish him all the very best in his future endeavors.”

It added no extra information; shares in the company were down more than 3% on the news in London this afternoon.

In phase 3, ridinilazole is Summit’s most advanced candidate. It has a clutch of earlier-stage programs targeting gonorrhea and hospital-acquired infections, including one aimed at Enterobacteriaceae, a family of bacteria responsible for many severe and often deadly infections of the lung, bloodstream and urinary tract.

The biotech has been rebuilding in recent years. Eighteen months ago, Summit’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug missed its primary and secondary endpoints in a phase 2 trial, leading the biotech to drop the program and focus its energies behind its antibiotic pipeline. Its shares plunged around 80%.