Cash-strapped Summit will focus on iminosugar drug discovery platform.

Summit sold its zebrafish screening business to Evotec for £500,000,  or slightly over $752,000, in cash. Evotec announced the deal just over 24 hours after it confirmed shutting down its own U.S. operations.
Evotec says that it expects the zebrafish business will add approximately £1.5 million, or roughly $2.26 million, to its 2010 revenues. The acquisition includes all zebrafish-related assets and operations in the U.K. and Singapore. Employees and costs associated with Summit’s zebrafish business in the U.K. will be moved immediately to Evotec’s U.K. facilities.  It adds that the Singapore facility will significantly help its drive to tap into new growth markets in the Far East.

Evotec is also taking over all Summit’s ongoing zebrafish-related contracts including a major multiyear research agreement with Johnson & Johnson signed in October 2008. The deal was struck to explore and develop the use of zebrafish in drug screening efforts, and the Singapore facility was established for this purpose.

Summit is still struggling financially, however. In February the company confirmed it could run out of cash by the end of second quarter 2009 unless additional funding could be secured. The £0.5 million brought in by the zebrafish sale will be used to support the company’s operation and working capital, while it continues to look for additional ways of releasing cash and reducing expenditure.

The future of Summit’s business is focused on its iminosugar drug discovery platform, says Summit’s CEO, Steven Lee, Ph.D.  The company is also holding on to its carbohydrate chemistry subsidiary, Dextra Laboratories, confirmed Summit’s Richard Pye, Ph.D. Dextra offers specialist carbohydrate chemistry services to third parties on a fee-for-service and collaborative basis.

The company’s clinical and preclinical pipeline includes both in-house and out-licensed drug candidates for Parkinson’s disease-related sialorrhoea (Phase II, partnered with Orient Pharma), acne (Phase I, commercial partner sought), Duchenne muscular dystrophy (late preclinical-stage, licensed to BioMarin), and bioterrorism-related pathogens (preclinical-stage, licensed to Evolva Biotech). In October 2008 Summit signed a co-development agreement for the discovery-stage tuberculosis program with the Lilly TB Drug Discovery Initiative.

Related News

Evotec Cuts Workforce with New Focus on Forging Discovery Partnership (Mar. 27, 2009)
Roche to Support Clinical Trials with Evotec’s Depression Therapy in $300M Deal (Mar. 10, 2009)
BioMarin Takes Over Summit’s Preclinical Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Program with $7M Equity Investment (July 22, 2008)
Ono Taps Evotec for Discovery Work (Mar. 27, 2008)
CHDI to Provide $37M to Evotec in Collaboration Extension (Feb. 14, 2008)

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