Swiss healthcare giant Novartis says that the European Commission has decided to expand use of the firm's antibiotic to treat two additional types of life-threatening hospital infections.

The Commission has voted to approve Cubicin (daptomycin) to treat heart valve infection right-sided infective endocarditis (RIE) due to Staphylococcus aureus and S aureus bacteremia in cases when associated with RIE or with complicated skin and soft-tissue infections.

Cubicin first received European approval in January 2006 for use in treating cSSTI infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria and Novartis noted that in the UK alone, more than 15,000 patients are estimated to contract SAB infections every year. "If not quickly and effectively treated, up to one-third of these patients may die from the infections," the firm said, and "with growing resistance to current treatments, these types of infections are becoming an increasingly serious public health challenge".

Cubicin is marketed by Cubist in the USA, while Novartis markets the drug in numerous countries elsewhere.