GlaxoSmithKline has won approval from the regulators for its antiseptic gel developed from a mouthwash to save millions of newborns in the developing countries.
The British pharmaceutical company reformulated its Corsodyl mouthwash into an antiseptic gel. The gel aids in preventing umbilical cord infections in newborn babies.
‘GlaxoSmithKline has developed an antiseptic gel called Umbipro, which aids in preventing umbilical cord infections in newborn babies.
GSK developed the antiseptic gel called Umbipro with a charity group called Save the Children. The wonder gel is targeted to developing countries and the UN estimates 422,000 lives can be saved over five years.
Umbilical cord infections are more prevalent in Africa and Asia, where there are more births at home typically done using unsterile objects, such as dung ash, for the umbilical cord stump.
The gel will be mainly sold at a not-for-profit price. It is designed to hold up both hot and humid conditions without needing much refrigeration as both continents endure such weather condition.
Dr. Pauline Williams, a senior GSK scientist at GSK's UK research and development center in Stevenage initiated the efforts in coming up with the gel which took four years to develop.
In a report by the United Nations in 2012, chlorhexidine was identified as a forgotten "life-saving commodity".
The report stated that chlorhexidine had the potential to save baby lives if made available across poor parts of Africa and Asia.
Dr Williams realized that Chlorhexidine was being used in GSK's mouthwash brand Corsodyl.
"It's been a great example of bringing together expertise and resources from across the company to work on something that can make a big difference to public health," said Dr Williams.
Umbipro received approval from the European Medicines Agency on April 29. This breakthrough is one of the first approvals for any medical drug to reach the developing countries.
However, the antiseptic gel is yet to be approved by the local regulators in all the countries where the company intends to serve its drug. GSK is confident though that it could pass these local approvals.