Up to $4.1 million in non-dilutive funding from nonprofit CARB-X was announced this week for Summit Therapeutics to help develop a first-in-class antibiotic to treat multidrug-resistant infections, and specifically, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections.
This funding will aid Summit in progressing its SMT-738 antibiotic project through both preclinical and Phase 1a clinical development. Discovered by Summit’s proprietary Discuva Platform, the antibiotic acts through an essential lipid transport system in Gram-negative bacteria. Pairing with this target, the antibiotic could help reduce the risk of pre-existing resistance and allow for more effective treatment of CRE-related infections that currently have little treatment recourse.
Phase one studies are expected to begin in 2023. What’s more, the company could receive an additional $3.7 million in funding for its efforts if CARB-X deems certain milestones to be achieved.
“The world urgently needs innovative therapeutics to address life-threatening pathogens that are constantly developing new ways of resisting the effects of antibiotics that are designed to kill them,” Erin Duffy, R&D Chief of CARB-X, said. “Summit’s SMT-738 represents a novel class that has a new mechanism of inhibition of bacterial cell membrane biosynthesis. These degrees of novelty combine to offer a potential advantage where antibiotic resistance is concerned.”
Drug-resistant pathogens have been dubbed a critical priority by the World Health Organization (WHO) and an urgent threat by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CRE, in particular, are a family of bacteria that cause deadly infections that spread quickly and have little means of treatment. They resist all existing antibiotics and are particularly prevalent in healthcare settings. Responsible for an estimated 1,100 patient deaths each year, according to the CDC, they can also cause bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections, and hospital-acquired pneumonia.
“With the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, particularly with respect to CRE infections, SMT-738 is clearly differentiated from all agents, including the beta-lactamase inhibitors, that are currently used to treat such infections,” Dr. David Powell, Summit’s Chief Scientific Officer, said. “Having encountered no existing resistance in clinical isolates to the novel chemistry of SMT-738, the ability of our drug molecule to reset the clock against growing resistance is critical in our collective fight against these pathogens causing an urgent public health threat.”