Today saw one of the cannabis industry’s largest biopharmaceutical players receive positive news on one of it’s most promising products. GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: GWPH) saw its stock jump up significantly today on the news that the company saw a strong start for its flagship cannabis-product Epidiolex, the first marijuana-based drug that received regulatory approval to treat severe epilepsy in children.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the new drug back in June to treat two types of epilepsy. Made from cannabinoid (CBD) oil, the product launched back in November and has raised $4.7 million in sales with around 4,500 new patients prescribed to the drug in the first two months. In January, the number of prescriptions grew over 150 percent as the company boasts over 500 physicians who are prescribing the medication with 130 separate distribution centers for the oil.
Analysts have reacted positively to the news development across Wall Street. “It’s hard to see how the Epidiolex launch could have gotten off to a better start,” wrote JP Morgan analyst Cory Kasimov in a note to clients, according to MarketWatch. He ended up doubling down on the company’s overweight rating while boosting his target stock price to $180. “In our view, commercial metrics to date suggest that Epidiolex should continue to impress.”
“Still early days in the launch, and still much to learn about the long-term trajectory and move from the initial bolus to long term market dynamic,” added ISI analyst Josh Schimmer, who also raised his target stock price from $170 to $194. “However, we think early signals are very strong and should propel growth.”
Currently, GW Pharma is pushing to get its Epidiolex drug approved in Europe, something that the company expects to happen in Q2 2019. It’s also looking into another cannabis drug, Sativex, to help treat muscle spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients, with phase 3 testing expected to begin in Q4.
In response to the news, shares of GW Pharma increased a noticeable 14 percent, spiking up within the first hour of today’s trading sessions and staying roughly at that level since. Overall, the news pushed the company’s stock price to a 5-month high.
GW Pharmaceuticals Company Profile
Founded in 1998, GW is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform in a broad range of disease areas. GW, along with its U.S. subsidiary Greenwich Biosciences, has received U.S. FDA approval for EPIDIOLEX (cannabidiol) oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) or Dravet syndrome in patients two years of age or older and which is now available by prescription in the U.S.
The Company has submitted a regulatory application in Europe for the adjunctive treatment of seizures associated with LGS and Dravet syndrome. The company continues to evaluate EPIDIOLEX in additional rare epilepsy conditions and currently has an ongoing clinical trial in tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC).
GW commercialized the world’s first plant-derived cannabinoid prescription drug, Sativex® (nabiximols), which is approved for the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis in numerous countries outside the United States and for which the company is now planning a U.S. Phase 3 trial. The Company has a deep pipeline of additional cannabinoid product candidates which includes compounds in Phase 1 and 2 trials for epilepsy, glioblastoma, and schizophrenia. –GW Pharmaceuticals