GW Pharmaceuticals tests epilepsy drug in man as FDA softens stance

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LONDON (ShareCast) - Cannabis-derived drug developer GW Pharmaceuticals (NasdaqGM: GWPH - news) has begun human trials of its epilepsy treatment.

The AIM- and Nasdaq-listed company said the novel drug candidate, currently named GWP42006, was one of its most promising and looked to have significantly fewer side effects than currently approved anti-epileptic drugs.

Dr. Stephen Wright, Director of Research and Development at the company said advancing GWP42006 to a first dose in man was a significant milestone in the development of this candidate.

"The decision to progress into Phase 1 follows several years of highly promising pre-clinical research," he added.

"We believe that GWP42006 has the potential to become an important advance in the treatment of epilepsy, a condition for which there remains a substantial unmet medical need."

Research with the Reading School of Pharmacy in Buckinghamshire has shown that GWP42006 not only exerts significant ability to treat seizures in a wide range of preclinical models of seizure and epilepsy, but is also better tolerated by patients compared to existing anti-epileptic drugs.

The company has been encouraged by recent interest in its products in the US. That arose after the pharmaceutical regulator, the Food and Drug Administration [FDA], allowed US epilepsy specialists and patient organizations to carry out treatment on a small number of pediatric epilepsy patients with a cannabidiol [CBD] formulation supplied by GW. These activities may generate initial evidence to add CBD as a further pipeline candidate for clinical evaluation in epilepsy.

Recent third quarter showed net cash of $66.3m thanks to a US IPO in May that raised $30.4m.

Shares in GWP were up 1.4% to 72p at 11:12 on Wednesday.


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