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Novartis gains licence for GW's Sativex

GW Pharmaceuticals has entered into an exclusive licence agreement for Novartis to commercialise Sativex in several key territories

GW Pharmaceuticals has entered into an exclusive licence agreement for Novartis to commercialise Sativex (cannabidiol; tetrahydrocannabinol) in Australia and New Zealand, Asia (excluding Japan, China and Hong Kong), Middle East (excluding Israel/Palestine) and Africa.

Sativex has been developed as a treatment for spasticity due to multiple sclerosis (MS). Regulatory filings for Sativex in MS are expected to begin in some of these countries during 2011. 

Under the terms of the agreement, Novartis will have exclusive commercialisation rights to Sativex and will also be responsible for regulatory filings and act as marketing authorisation holder for Sativex. GW will be responsible for the manufacture and supply of Sativex to Novartis.

Separately to this deal, Sativex is in phase III clinical development for the treatment of cancer pain.

The licensing agreement will see GW receive an upfront payment of $5m and the company will be eligible for additional milestone payments worth up to $28.75m. GW will also receive royalties on net sales of Sativex.

Justin Gover, GW's managing director, said: "We are delighted to have entered into this agreement with Novartis. As one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with a strategic focus in both MS and oncology, Novartis represents an excellent commercial partner for Sativex in these important and growing international markets."

Sativex is licensed to Otsuka Pharmaceutical in the US, to Almirall in Europe (excluding the UK), to Bayer HealthCare in the UK and Canada, and to Neopharm Group in Israel/Palestine.

12th April 2011

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