Cubist Pharmaceuticals' antibiotic product Cubicin has been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat infective endocarditis, a potentially life-threatening complication that can occur in patients infected with Staphylococcus aureus.

The agency also cleared the antibiotic to treat bloodstream infections caused by S aureus. Cubicin was first approved in the USA to treat complicated skin and soft tissue infections in 2003, when it became the first in a new class of lipopeptide antibiotics to reach the market. Cubicin was also launched for SSTIs earlier this year in Europe by licensee Chiron, now a subsidiary of Novartis.

Cubist said Cubicin is the only intravenous antibiotic approved for treating this type of bloodstream infections, which account for some 30,000 deaths a year in the USA alone each year.

Cubist reported Cubicin sales of $114 million in 2005, a rise of 94% year-on-year, and reiterated its 2006 forecast for the drug of $190-$205 million in sales.