A new acne treatment from GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) now has marketing approval in the United States to tackle pimples and blackheads in acne sufferers.

Tazarotene, which will be marketed under the name Fabior Foam, is a topical foam developed to treat acne vulgaris. Fabior now has U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to treat the moderate-to-severe acne in patients who are 12 or older.

Fabior was developed by GSK subsidiary Stiefel Laboratories, the dermatology products company that GSK acquired in 2009 for $2.9 billion as the company made a play to diversify its drug portfolio beyond the slate of blockbuster drugs set to lose patent protection.

GSK folded its dermatological products business into Stiefel, which operates in Research Triangle Park, a short distance from GSK’s own RTP campus. The combined skin products unit operates under the Stiefel name.


Between 40 million and 50 million Americans suffer from acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It’s hardly an under-served population but it is a growing market. Research firm Global Industry Analysts projects that the global market for medicated skin care products, including acne treatments, will reach $6.2 billion by 2017. Consumer products are seen as a more stable source of revenue. The Global Industry Analysts report notes that although women have driven sales for skin care products, men are increasingly shelling out money for skin products.

Fabior should not be used by pregnant women because it could cause harm fetuses. GSK said that the most common adverse reactions reported were at the site Fabior was applied. Those reactions included irritation, dryness, redness and exfoliation.