Biotech company's cannabis victory

January 04, 2006

, Manchester Evening News (UK)

BIOTECH company GW Pharmaceuticals has won approval from US regulators to conduct a pivotal study into its cannabis-based medicine Sativex as a treatment for cancer pain.

 

GW expects to start testing the product - which is sprayed into the mouth - with US patients who have advanced cancer later this year and said it was raising £8.6m in a discounted share placing with a US investor to help fund the trial while its looks for a US partner.

The randomised clinical trial will involve 250 people and is likely to last between 24 and 36 months, suggesting Sativex will not be ready for launch in the US marketplace until towards the end of the decade.

 

 

Canada became the first country in the world to approve Sativex in April 2005, for the relief of neuropathic pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Wiltshire-based GW suffered a setback three weeks ago, however, when a British inquest found the death of a patient taking Sativex in an earlier clinical study was probably linked to the medicine.

Sativex is GW's leading product and the source of most of the company's value.

The group grows thousands of marijuana plants at a secret location in the English countryside, having been granted a dispensation by the government to use the plant for medical research.



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