Chiron has introduced its lipopeptide antibiotic Cubicin in the UK and the Netherlands, its first European markets, for the treatment of complicated skin and soft-tissue infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Chiron licenses Cubicin from Cubist Pharmaceuticals, which reported $114 million in sales of the antibiotic in 2005. It is already sold in the USA and Argentina, and is expected to grow strongly over the next few years on the back of the rising incidence of MRSA and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) both in hospitals and the community setting, according to market research by Decision Resources.

The EU approved indication covers a range of serious infections, usually occurring in hospitalised patients, including major abscesses, post-surgical skin wound infections and infected ulcers.

Cubicin is the first cyclic lipopeptide antibiotic to reach the market, and has been sold in the USA since November 2003.