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12 May, 2020 - 09:33 By Tony Quested

Pot of gold for cannabis-based drug pioneer

GW Pharmaceuticals plc, which is pioneering medicines based on cannabis, has scaled fresh heights in terms of financial performance and advancement of treatments in the US and Europe in the first quarter of 2020.

The Cambridge, UK headquartered business has turned its cannaboid-based medicines into a pot of gold in Q1, soaring to revenues of $120.6 million from $392m this time last year. At the same time GW has scythed losses from $50.1m in Q1 2019 to just $8m this time.

Despite investment in growth cash burn is more like a slight singe: cash and equivalents at March 31, 2020 were $500.9m compared to $536.9m at December 31.

The jewel in the crown is Epidiolex® for which net product sales scaled to $116.1m. 

CEO Justin Gover said: “In the first quarter of 2020 we have seen continued strength of the Epidiolex brand in both the US and Europe and remain confident about prospects for growth in the remainder of the year. 

“Having been granted priority review by the FDA for our proposed label expansion to include TSC, our US commercial team is actively preparing for the launch of this indication in August.”

Nasdaq-quoted GW had been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the FDA for Cannabidiol for the treatment of TSC (Tuberous Sclerosis Complex) a rare genetic disorder, the most common symptom of which is epilepsy. 

Epilepsy occurs in around 80-90 per cent of TSC patients and is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality.

Gover added: “In this current environment caused by COVID-19, we have been able to support the epilepsy community remotely and maintain production of Epidiolex, while taking necessary steps to maintain the wellbeing of our employees. 

“Looking ahead, GW is well placed to emerge strongly from the COVID-19 crisis with significant growth prospects for Epidiolex in the US and Europe, important pipeline clinical trials ready to execute, a strong balance sheet, and an unparalleled leading position in cannabinoid science.”

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