Summit Corp of the UK has reported positive results from a Phase I clinical trial of SMT D002, its candidate to treat seborrhoea, or greasy skin, the primary cause of acne.

The Oxford-based biotechnology firm said that the study demonstrated significant levels of sebum suppression of 90% compared to the placebo group, and added that no serious or unexpected adverse side-effects were reported. For commercial reasons Summit is not disclosing the name of the existing drug from which SMT D002 is derived.

Summit now says that it plans to develop a topical formulation of SMT D002, and is actively seeking a commercial partner to advance this candidate. The company is also working on SMT D001 for sialorrhea, excess saliva and drooling, a symptom of Parkinson’s disease. That compoundis currently in a Phase I/ii trial in 40 Parkinson’s patients and the results are expected in the first half of 2009.

Analysts at Edison Investment Research note that acne affects about 85% of 12-24 year-olds and seborrhoea is also commonly associated with Parkinson’s, so “there is a potentially large market for this [SMT D002] product”. They add that there is a demand for novel acne drugs, given that the mainstay treatment, Roche’s Accutane (isotretinion), is highly effective but is associated with significant side effects.