Gastrointestinal biotech firm Salix Pharmaceuticals (UNKNOWN:SLXP.DL) announced Wednesday that the Food and Drug Administration has approved Fulyzaq, the company's orally taken diarrhea treatment for patients suffering from HIV or AIDS and on anti-retroviral therapy (ART).

Salix says it will begin marketing Fulyzaq early this year. The drug, which is the first gastrointestinal product of its kind, has patent protection up until at least 2018. Patients on anti-retroviral treatments to combat AIDS and HIV can contract diarrhea, and weight loss and other problems stemming from the condition can interfere with the treatment. The company estimates 150,000 to 180,000 people on anti-retroviral therapy suffer from non-infectious diarrhea, which would make them candidates for Fulyzaq.

Salix President and CEO Carolyn Logan explained the need Fulyzaq meets in the company's press release, saying, "Diarrhea negatively affects quality of life and is a common reason for discontinuing or switching ART regimen. Salix's expertise in gastrointestinal medicine should position the Company to deliver this much-needed treatment to HIV patients."

Shares of Salix jumped more than 5% during midday trading.


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