First FDA approval from Singapore – Merlion Pharmaceuticals

You can only find Merlions in Singapore. It is a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, usually found sitting/standing upright on its tail. An icon of Singapore, it is sold as chocolates, pewter ornaments, on t-shirts, bags and cups. And one of the first pharmaceuticals in Singapore, similarly bears the stamp of the Merlion, Merlion Pharmaceuticals.

Merlion pharmaceuticals was founded in 2002 as the first drug discovery  centre in Singapore and was built on a natural compound library that got sold off during the merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham during the same time. Heavily funded by the Singapore government in the early days, it has managed to successfully attract investors and set up alliances with many well-known drug companies such as Novartis, Merck, Astellas and the like.

Anti-bacterials are their core competence, and they are definitely making headway as seen from recently obtained FDA approval for use of their otic (i.e. for ear use) suspension of finafloxacin in the treatment of “swimmer’s ear”, a bacterial infection of the outer ear canal caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. This condition can be caused by moisture build-up in the ear (a warm and moist environment is ideal for bacterial growth), or by exposure to the germs by swimming in polluted water. The condition is also aggravated by skin breakage in the ear canal which can apparently be caused by cleaning your ears with cotton swabs or Q-tips :/  Something I do everytime I wash my hair! Looks like I should stop doing that from now. Looking at the pictures of ear infections (google otitis externa), yes, I should definitely stop doing that.


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