GW Pharmaceuticals

GW Pharmaceuticals Fundraises $180M for New Cannabis Epilepsy Drug

A British cannabis medicine maker aims to fund raise about $180M in order to push forward a new treatment option for childhood epilepsy.

GW Pharmaceuticals has a special license or permission from the Home Office in growing cannabis in a secret location in England that they can harness to discover the healing benefits of marijuana without producing the high linked with smoking.

Its Sativex, medical treatment for multiple sclerosis, has been approved for sale in 24 countries. However, investor enthusiasm is now focused on the promising potential of its Epidiolex, treatment for childhood epilepsy.

Of half a million of US children with epilepsy, about one-third does not respond well to conventional medicines.

Hundreds of children with the condition, based on initial results, revealed that the said epilepsy drug could reduce their seizures by over 50 percent.

If such findings would be replicated in clinical trials, which are due for reporting by end of 2015, the company, would of course, file a regulatory approval next year to launch Epidiolex in 2017, according to Chief Executive Justin Gover.

He told reports about that the latest Nasdaq fundraising would be utilized in building GW’s commercial and manufacturing infrastructure as a symbol of its commitment in reaching markets on its own other than selling to a larger company or looking for partnership.

He also told Financial Times that instead of them being just pipeline filler for companies, they wanted to own their own products and possess the ability of commercializing them.

Analyst at Leerink Paul Matteis said that the company had two-thirds of chances to succeed, as he recounted a recent meeting with epilepsy specialists who claimed that there was a large unmet need for treatments and showed excitement of the new epilepsy drug.

Gover said that the research, development and manufacturing would still be in the UK where their company employs about 300 workers, even if the commercial focus (if ever) would be the United States. They were a British company and that the expertise and investment they had built up was concentrated there, he concluded.

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