ZURICH, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Swiss biotech group Basilea said its key antibiotic ceftobiprole won long-awaited backing from the European regulator to treat hospital and community-acquired pneumonia.
"The European approval of ceftobiprole in pneumonia marks another significant milestone for our company," said Basilea's chief executive officer Ronald Scott.
"Ceftobiprole has the broadest spectrum of activity of any approved anti-MRSA agent," he said.
MRSA is the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which is estimated to kill some 20,000 people every year in the United States.
The Basel-based firm had been hunting for a partner for ceftobiprole for several years and said previously it is aiming for a partnership by the end of 2013.
Earlier this year, Basilea won "orphan" drug status in the United States for antifungal treatment isavuconazole, which analysts estimate could be worth up to 150 million Swiss francs ($167.55 million) annually.
Basilea has gone through a series of shake-ups this year, including the departure of its chief financial officer just two months after that of the firm's founder and chief executive. ($1 = 0.8953 Swiss francs) (Reporting By Katharina Bart; Editing by David Cowell)