GW Pharmaceuticals turns over $108M in Q4 sales thanks to CBD-based medicine

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Following the EU approval of a cannabis-derived epilepsy treatment called Epidiolex, British drugs company GW Pharmaceuticals is experiencing a major surge in sales.

Headquartered in London, GW Pharma recently revealed its latest sales figures to investors; $108 million during the last quarter of 2019 and $309 million for calendar 2019. Initially, the company projected that its fourth quarter sales for 2019 would top $102.4 million.

The fact that GW Pharma has surpassed sales predictions is – according to the company – as a result of physicians now being legally allowed to prescribe Epidiolex across the United States. Based on official reports from the biopharmaceutical company, Epidiolex accounted for a total of $104 million in Q4 sales. However, it remains uncertain as to what percentage of the sales came from Europe’s medical cannabis market.

GW Pharma’s cannabis-based epilepsy treatment is now legal in the EU

Based in Cambridge, United Kingdom, GW Pharma has been producing medicinal drugs since its inception in 1998. The non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) is the main ingredient contained in Epidiolex. In order to produce it, GW Pharma extracts CBD from UK-grown cannabis plants.

Epidiolex medicine made history when, in July 2018, it became the only cannabis-derived drug to gain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A victory was also enjoyed by GW Pharma on January 6, 2020, when EPIDYOLEX® – the product’s trade name in Europe – was made available to patients via the UK National Health Service (NHS).

The drug company received marketing authorization for EPIDYOLEX® from the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) in July 2019 and the European Commission (EC) in July 2019. Marketing authorization was granted on 23 September 2019 for use as a supplement to clobazam — a commonly-prescribed benzodiazepine for Lennox-gastaut syndrome.

CBD drug Epidiolex to bring in $475M in sales this year

GW Pharma’s sales predictions for 2020 look pretty healthy, according to an analyst for the drug giant. In addition to Epidiolex, another cannabis-derived drug called Sativex is harvesting plenty of money for the British company. Unlike Epidiolex – a treatment developed specifically for patients who suffer from rare rare types of epilepsy – Sativex is catered towards patients who endure multiple sclerosis symptoms, such as muscle jerks and spasms. 

Interestingly, while Epidiolex managed to make its mark on the U.S. cannabis industry before the U.K. did, Sativex hasn’t gained a presence in the U.S. whatsoever. Over in Europe, however, Sativex has gained approval for use in a handful of European countries.  

Recently, on January 14, employees of the company spoke at the 38th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. The team discussed key accomplishments of 2019, which included the development of a Nabiximol U.S. pivotal clinical plan; set to begin this year.

The next stage for GW Pharma is to amplify the rollout of Epidiolex and other cannabis-based drugs across a wider prescriber base, expand on positive physician experiences, improve access for patients with continued payment partnerships, as well as integrate their cannabis-derived products into the long-term healthcare sector. Additionally, GW Pharma strives to reduce logistical issues pertaining to Epidiolex distribution.

Cannabis stock investors can find GW Pharma’s shares trading on the NASDAQ under the ticker ‘GWPH’.