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GW offsets share price fallout

GW Pharmaceuticals has revealed that the Health Department for the Spanish Catalan government published positive results on April 9 from a pilot Sativex programme
GW Pharmaceuticals has revealed that the Health Department for the Spanish Catalan government published positive results on April 9 from a pilot Sativex programme.

Over 40 doctors across 6 different hospitals in the Barcelona area participated in the programme that aimed to evaluate Sativex as a possible treatment option for various medical conditions.

According to the Catalan Department of Health, nearly 50 per cent of the patients who were given Sativex, which is a GW-developed cannabinoid (cannabis-based) painkiller, showed improvement in their symptoms.

Dr Stephen Wright, R&D director for GW, said: "This programme has shown that Sativex provides important improvements in approximately half of high need patients who have otherwise failed to benefit from currently available medicines. This is entirely consistent with our experience of Sativex prescription use in Canada and the UK, as well as in controlled clinical trails."

Share prices in GW plummeted by 21 per cent on April 8 after it was revealed that Sativex had failed to meet statistically significant targets in a phase III placebo-controlled study to test its efficacy as a pain relief treatment for multiple sclerosis sufferers. Sativex had been GW's frontrunner candidate cannabinoid and people's high expectations for the drug had caused a 100 per cent rise in the company's share price in the three months prior to the trials statistical failure.

The announcement of the Catalan based Sativex programme results could be a move by GW Pharmaceuticals to offset the damage caused by the April 8 revelations.

Responding to questions as to whether or not this was damage limitation by GW, Paul Cuddon, analyst for KBC Peel Hunt, said: "Absolutely: a bit of positive news to come after the disaster that was yesterday."

"It's good news but the fact is this pilot programme wasn't placebo-controlled," Cuddon added. "It's good, it's interesting, but it doesn't mean it's successful."

9th April 2008

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