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Bee products company Comvita says its patented "advanced wound care dressing" has become the first using manuka honey for wounds and burns to receive marketing clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA approval is a milestone for Comvita's wound care business, said the company's chief executive, Brett Hewlett.

The global advanced wound care market is worth more than US$4 billion, of which the US makes up US$2.3 billion.

"An ageing population and increase in diabetes will continue to be strong drivers for this fast-growing category," he said.

Some biologically active manuka honey contains the compound methylglyoxal, which combats bacteria causing stomach ulcers and promotes wound healing.

Wound-care products using the honey have become increasingly valuable, as they have also been effective against some antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

Hewlett said the US approval meant revenue from a licensing agreement with Derma Sciences in the US would start flowing this year.

Comvita has a 14 per cent stake (10 per cent fully diluted) in publicly owned Derma Sciences, which sells advanced wound care products.

Derma Sciences recently won clearance to sell Comvita's anti-microbial dressings with active manuka honey in Canada. Similar dressings are approved as anti-microbials in Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

- NZPA