Summit pulls off a downsized IPO for its DMD drug

The U.K.'s Summit Therapeutics ($SMMT) is elbowing its way into the race to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), pulling off a $34 million U.S. IPO to fund its research.

Already listed on London's AIM, Summit made its way onto the Nasdaq by moving about 3.5 million shares at $9.90 each, coming in a bit short of the $40 million it expected to gross after filing in the U.S. last month. The proceeds will bankroll an ongoing Phase Ib study of SMT C1100, an oral treatment for DMD, and help pay for mid-stage work on a drug for Clostridium difficile infection.

Summit's approach to DMD stands out among Sarepta Therapeutics ($SRPT), BioMarin's ($BMRN) Prosensa and PTC Therapeutics ($PTCT), which target only a fraction of patients with the muscle-wasting disease. SMT C1100 works by boosting the protein utrophin in an effort to compensate for the missing dystrophin at the heart of DMD, improving symptoms of the disease without needing to home in on particular mutations, according to the company.

The biotech is on track to report top-line data from its Phase Ib trial in the third quarter, and, if the results are positive, Summit plans to kick off two Phase II trials thereafter. And the company is at work on utrophin-modulating therapies beyond SMT C1100, working with co-founder and University of Oxford professor Kay Davies on a pipeline of second-generation compounds with expectations of getting another candidate into preclinical development in the first half of this year.

Summit's most advanced candidate is the oral SMT19969, a C. diff. treatment now in Phase II with data anticipated in the second half.

Meanwhile, the performance of biotech IPOs has waxed and waned since last year's boom of offerings. February was a forgettable month for Wall Street debutantes as Inotek ($ITEK) had to downsize its offering and Carbylan Therapeutics dropped out altogether. But January alone saw Spark Therapeutics ($ONCE) raise $161 million, Ascendis Pharma ($ASND) raise $108 million, Flex Pharma ($FLKS) bank $86 million and Zosano Pharma ($ZSAN) pull in $50 million. In 2014, biotech debutantes raised a record $6.3 billion in IPO cash, a figure buoyed by increasingly high valuations and investor fervor over new technologies.

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