June 27, 2018 / 11:14 AM / in 5 months

Summit plunges 80 percent after muscle-wasting disorder drug fails

(Reuters) - Britain’s Summit Therapeutics Plc said on Wednesday that it would stop developing its Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) drug after it failed a mid-stage study, wiping out nearly 80 percent of its market value.

DMD is a rare, genetic disorder that hampers muscle movement mainly in men, affecting one in every 3,500 to 5,000 males. Lack of a protein called dystrophin can cause life-threatening damage to the heart and, over time, death, often at a young age.

Summit’s treatment, ezutromid, was evaluated in a total of 40 boys, with 38 completing the 48-week clinical trial. While the drug showed promise after 24 weeks, the effects were not seen after 48 weeks.

“While we believe utrophin modulation could still have a place in the treatment of DMD, it is clear that ezutromid is not providing a benefit for patients,” Chief Executive Officer Glyn Edwards said in a statement.

The trial results is a blow to patients with the debilitating disorder, which has few treatment options and is littered with failed studies.

“We are very disappointed with the results given the positive 24-week interim data,” SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Edward Nash wrote in a note.

Sarepta Therapeutics Inc is currently the market leader for DMD treatment after its drug won U.S approval two years ago. Its another therapy also showed promising results last week.

Among others, PTC Therapeutics Inc has an approved drug for the disease, while Solid Biosciences is developing a gene therapy for DMD.

Summit, which also plans to implement cost-cutting measure, said it will now focus its operations on the development of its pipeline of antibiotics.

The company’s lead product candidate, ridinilazole, is expected to enter late-stage clinical trials for the treatment of C. difficile infection in first quarter of 2019, it said.

The company’s U.S. shares were down 76 percent at $3, while its London-listed shares were down 70 pct at 195 pence.

Reporting by Manas Mishra and Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Anil D'Silva

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