GW Pharmaceuticals Stock Soars 25%

British pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals has seen its share price soar by 25% following the publication of results from their latest round of drug trials.

The drug in question, Epidiolex, has just undergone late-stage trials aimed at testing its efficacy in treating Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a severe, drug-resistant form of childhood epilepsy. The results were remarkable, causing shares in the company to rocket in value despite market volatility in the wake of the EU referendum result. Patients taking Epidiolex achieved an average reduction in seizures of 44% per month, compared to 22% in those receiving a placebo.

The news comes hot on the heels of a trial completed and published three months ago into Epidiolex’s use in treating another, more well known form of childhood epilepsy, Dravet’s Syndrome. That trial achieved equally impressive results.

Speaking to The Telegraph about the latest round of results, GW Chief Executive Justin Gover said, “These are kids who, on average this was the tenth drug they had tried. They were having on average 74 drop seizures a month, which are episodes where they jerk and shake and fall down, so to have a medicine that has a potential to provide a new way of treating these patients is important and incredibly exciting for the company.”

“…to have a second study to be so robustly positive and consistent with the first, shows that it was no fluke,” he continued.

The trial results look set to propel GW to new heights as they continue their rise to worldwide prominence. Their flagship drug, Sativex, is already licensed in 27 countries, including the UK, as a treatment for spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis. Epidiolex is sure to achieve similar if not greater success for the company, despite the continued reluctance of many countries to embrace cannabis-based medicines.

Indeed, GW’s continued rise does seem to make a mockery of the British establishment’s official position on cannabis – that it is a harmful substance which possesses no medicinal or therapeutic value. Despite the fact that GW has been granted a Home Office license to grow THC-rich cannabis strains right here in the UK, and that Sativex has been granted licensed here, the government still refuse to even enter a discussion about changing cannabis’ scheduling to reflect the growing body of evidence as to its efficacy.

The waters are further muddied by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s decision to block Sativex’s availability on prescription in most of the country on the grounds that it is too expensive, a situation that is only reinforced by the government’s reluctance to embrace change.

GW’s success, whatever your opinion on ‘pharmaceuticalised’ cannabis, should be held up as an example of what the UK could achieve if it truly grasped the nettle when it comes to cannabis. We have the expertise and infrastructure in place already to become a world leader in what is clearly a growing and highly lucrative field. Rather than allowing one company to reap the rewards of cannabis medicine on its own, we could, and should, embrace the evidence, and lead the world.

The referendum result has shown that over half of the population, rightly or wrongly, want the UK to be a world leader in something. This could answer that plea, and given that shares in GW seem to so far be immune to the negative effect of that result on stock markets as a whole, it could be about to become even more necessary than ever.

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