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11 March, 2020 - 17:45 By Tony Quested

Massive revenue hike as GW Pharma spreads its wings

Nasdaq quoted Cambridge life science business GW Pharmaceuticals, whose prescription medicines are cannabis-based, posted revenue of $109.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2019 and $311.3m for the full year.

Net sales of its flagship Epidiolex® product were $104.5m for the fourth quarter and $296.4m for the first full year of sales.

Chief executive Justin Gover hearalded the trail GW is blazing with Epidiolex in the US and prospects for a much broader reach with the product.

He said: “2019 was an exceptional and transformative year for GW, led by the successful launch of Epidiolex in the US and approval in Europe. 

“The positive impact this medicine has had on thousands of patients and their families provides a compelling foundation for continued growth in 2020. 

“We also expect 2020 to be an important year for our growing and developing product pipeline beyond Epidiolex as we build on our world leadership in cannabinoid science.

“We are focused on advancing nabiximols in the US in several indications and clinical programs with other potential products whilst continuing to bring Epidiolex to more patients in the US and Europe.”

GW plans further significant US commercialisation through 2020 and intends to focus on broadening the prescriber base, expanding payer coverage, entering long term care segment, and launch its Tuberous Sclerosis Complex indication.

A European launch is underway; Germany led the way in Q4 2019 and the company has secured a positive NICE recommendation in the UK with a commercial debut scheduled during this first quarter of the new year. 

Commercial launches in France, Spain and Italy are expected later this year.

On another front, GW Pharma is set to regain exclusive UK commercialisation rights for Sativex® (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD)) from Bayer plc.

Sativex, often known by the USAN name nabiximols, is a complex botanical formulation that contains the principal cannabinoids THC and CBD in addition to specific minor cannabinoids and other non-cannabinoid components. 

Nabiximols is indicated in the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis.

Since it was approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in 2010, Bayer has been responsible for the marketing of nabiximols in the UK. Under the terms of the agreement, there will be a transitional period until  December 31 at which point GW will take over all responsibilities for nabiximols in the UK.

In the interim, Bayer and GW will work closely to ensure a seamless transition for healthcare professionals and patients, with marketing transferring to GW during 2020.

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