Talking to CNBC host Jim Cramer recently, GW Pharma (GWPH) CEO Justin Gover announced that their CBD-based epilepsy drug has been approved by 28 countries in Europe.
Epidyolex could be launched soon
A plant-based epilepsy drug, Epidyolex was approved earlier this week by officials of the European Union. The drug could be used for the treatment of seizures in two severe and rare types of childhood-onset epilepsy. Gover said that the drug has been approved for 28 countries which could open up the market of half a billion people to the company.
It is planning to launch the drug there in next one or two years. The United Kingdom, Germany, and France will be the first countries to get access to the drug which will be launched in Q4. Italy and Spain will get the drug in 2020.
The medicine has been available in the US as Epidiolex for about one year now. It has been approved by the federal government to treat epilepsy and seizure association with Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastautsyndrome in patients aged two or older. The company suggests that the US has over 3.4 million epilepsy patients. The oral solution was prescribed to over 12,000 people in the first half of 2019 alone.
Why is Epidiolex so crucial?
Epidiolex was the first cannabis-based drug to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Gover said that thousands of American patients have already used this medication and now, it is ready for the world too. He added,
“As a parent, looking at children have seizures daily and who have exhausted treatment options … there really has been a sense of hopelessness [in families] and I think what Epidiolex has provided is a renewed sense of hope.”
The CBD-based drug could pass the FDA only after President Donald Trump signed a bill to remove industrial hemp from the controlled substances list. Gover commented that the company is still studying the drug’s use in other types of rare epilepsy. The company is also working extensively in the cannabinoid sector and is looking for cures for autism and multiple sclerosis as well. He said that very few company other than GW Pharma have the proven “track record” and “reputation” to use cannabinoids for different diseases.
The company’s stock has gone up by 21% year-to-date but went down by 6% on Tuesday. Stocks of companies related to cannabis have been hit hard in recent months but with new markets to sell a popular drug, GW Pharma can expect better times ahead.