Natural high for shares on cannabis medicine trial
GW Pharmaceuticals hit an all-time high after its experimental cannabis treatment showed promising results
Tuesday 17 June 2014
An experimental cannabis drug has produced promising results in a small study of children with hard-to-treat epilepsy, sending shares in its British maker GW Pharmaceuticals to an all-time high.
The company, which grows cannabis under licence at a secret location in Britain, is developing a range of so-called cannabinoid medicines. It already sells Sativex for spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis across Europe.
The latest findings for its new product Epidiolex follow an assessment of 27 children and young adults with treatment-resistant epilepsy who were given the drug in two US hospitals under an expanded access programme.
Epidiolex is given as a strawberry-lime flavoured syrup twice a day. The medicine contains the cannabinoid CBD but none of the psychoactive ingredient THC that makes marijuana smokers high.
GW said that results after 12 weeks of therapy in the open-label study were “encouraging”, with a reduction in seizure frequency of more than 50 per cent. It now plans to start a Phase II/III clinical trial in the second half of the year.
Justin Gover, GW’s chief executive, said he expected Epidiolex would be ready for submission to US and European regulators in 2016.
Epidiolex has been granted “orphan drug” status by the US Food and Drug Administration, which may ease its path to market and also offers GW additional exclusivity.
The designation reflects the unmet need for new approaches to help children with severe epilepsy syndromes such as Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut, where seizures often persist despite high doses of multiple anti-epileptic drugs.
Excitement over prospects for Epidiolex has been a driver for GW’s shares, which have surged since the company tapped into a new US shareholder base by listing on Nasdaq a year ago.
“It has become a central part of our valuation – there is no doubt about that,” Mr Gover said in an interview. “That reflects a number of reasons: the fact there is so much interest among physicians and patients, the fact it is an orphan development programme and the fact we own all the commercial rights worldwide.”
Shares in GW gained 15 per cent to a record high of 429p.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...