What happened

Shares of Summit Therapeutics (SMMT 1.67%) were up 34.3% for the week as of late Friday morning, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The stock was up as much as 52% at one point this week, closing out last week at $3.67, then soaring to as high as $5.54 on Thursday. 

So what

Summit focuses on developing antibiotics and oncology therapies. Its shareholders have been huge winners this year, and the move upward this week is partially because of increasing buys by institutional investors.

For the year, the clinical-stage biopharmaceutical stock is up a whopping 84.7%. That's heady stuff for a company that isn't profitable yet. In the third quarter, the company reported revenue of $220,000 and a net loss of $21.4 million. 

The big move up is because on Dec. 6, the biotech company purchased from Chinese biotech Akeso Biopharma the licensing rights to ivonescimab in the United States, Europe, Japan and Canada. The bispecific antibody is used to treat various types of lung cancer, which affects one in 16 people in the United States, according to the Lung Cancer Foundation of America, meaning it is a huge market opportunity. 

The deal is costing Summit $5 billion, in addition to milestone payments. While the bispecific antibody hasn't been approved yet in the United States, it has already shown promise in early clinical trials to treat non-small cell lung cancer, and Summit said it expects to begin additional clinical trials in the second quarter of 2023.

Summit doesn't have any marketed drugs, but members of its team were responsible for bringing a dozen indications to market for cancer blockbuster drug Imbruvica. The only other named therapy in Summit's pipeline is SMT-738 to treat various drug-resistant infections.

Now what

Despite the stock's huge move upward this year, it remains risky, like any clinical-stage biotech company without a marketed drug. That ivonescimab has done well in early trials is a good sign. This is a long-term investment opportunity, so with the stock's frequent rises and dips, it may make sense to wait for a dip before buying in.