Wyeth says that the US Food and Drug Administration has given the green light to its Tygacil (tigecycline) antibiotic to treat complicated intra-abdominal and skin infections in adults.

Tygacil is a so-called broad-spectrum antibiotic, which acts against a number of bacteria, including the drug-resistant bacteria methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Figures from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention show that people infected with drug-resistant organisms are more likely to have longer hospital stays and require treatment with multiple drugs. Antibiotic resistance costs the US between $4 billion and $5 billion each year, with antibiotic resistance now so widespread that many significant bacterial infections in the world are becoming resistant to commonly used antibiotics. Tygacil is the first antibiotic approved in a new class called glycylcyclines, which Wyeth believes can overcome key mechanisms of resistance that have affected antibiotic use.

Wyeth is still awaiting decisions on the product’s approvability from other regulatory agencies around the world, including Europe.