Summit Therapeutics PLC (NASDAQ:SMMT) has named its controlling shareholder, biotech billionaire Bob Duggan as its executive chairman with immediate effect.

Back in December, Summit – which cancelled its London listing in 2019 – unveiled a US$50mln funding deal with Duggan designed to get the company’s next-generation antibiotic through phase III clinical trials.

READ: Summit Therapeutics gets US$50mln backing from biotech billionaire Bob Duggan

The deal gave Duggan – who bought 166mln new Summit shares for 22.1p each – a controlling 72.8% stake in the business. He already owned 49% of Summit having invested US$25mln at the end of 2018.

In a statement on Wednesday, Summit said Glyn Edwards will continue as the biotech firm’s chief executive officer.

Edwards commented: “Mr Duggan has a track record of building successful commercial organisations aimed at bettering people’s lives.

 “We believe his guidance will help us ensure our targeted antibiotic product candidate ridinilazole has the best opportunity to reach patients with C. difficile infection who desperately need novel treatment options.”

Serial US-based entrepreneur

Duggan added: “Targeted antibiotics have the potential to improve the way infectious diseases are treated by targeting the infectious bacteria and minimising the damage of the healthy and protective microbiome.

“In C. difficile infection, the selective targeting of the infectious bacteria has significant potential to reduce recurrence and improve patient outcomes. I look forward to being part of the Summit team to realise the full potential of these medicines in bettering patients’ lives.”

Duggan is a serial US-based entrepreneur who has built several successful companies across different industries, including biotechnology.

He is currently the chief executive officer of Duggan Investment Inc., a private US investment firm, has served on the boards of a number of US public and private companies, and is currently chairman of the board of the Nasdaq listed company, Pulse Biosciences, Inc.

He was previously a substantial shareholder in and the chairman and chief executive officer of Pharmacyclics, Inc., which was sold to AbbVie Inc. in 2015.