GW Pharmaceuticals

GW Pharmaceuticals PLC
Public Limited Company
FounderGeoffrey Guy and Brian Whittle
United Kingdom[1]
Key people
Justin Gover (CEO)[2]
Revenue$33.8 million (2001)[3]

GW Pharmaceuticals is a British biopharmaceutical company known for its multiple sclerosis treatment product nabiximols (brand name, Sativex) which was the first natural cannabis plant derivative to gain market approval in any country.[4] Another cannabis-based product, Epidiolex, for treatment of epilepsy, was approved for treatment of epilepsy in 2018.



Doctors Geoffrey Guy and Brian Whittle founded GW Pharmaceuticals in 1998. That year they obtained a cultivation license from the United Kingdom Home Office and the MHRA, allowing the company to cultivate cannabis from seeds and clones to conduct scientific research concerning the medicinal uses of the plant.[5][6]


In July 1998, GW Pharmaceuticals collaborated with HortaPharm B.V., a cannabis research and development corporation based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands,[7] founded by two expert horticulturists from California,[8] Robert Connell Clarke[9] and David Paul Watson, also known as 'Sam the Skunkman'.[10] HortaPharm grew medicinal strains for the Dutch government.[11][12][13][14]


GW Pharmaceuticals listed on AIM, the junior market of the London Stock Exchange, in 2001.[15] In May 2013 the company became dual-listed on the NASDAQ, as well as AIM.

Marketed products[edit]


Nabiximols (trade name Sativex) is a botanical drug that is a cannabis extract, administered as a mouth spray; it was approved in the UK in 2010 as a treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients to alleviate neuropathic pain, spasticity, overactive bladder, and other symptoms.[16]

Nabiximols is made with two unknown Cannabis strains, and is extracted with ethanol and carbon dioxide.[17][18]

In 2011, GW Pharmaceuticals concluded a partnership with Bayer for the distribution of Sativex in the UK,[19] and have an estimated annual production of 100 tons of medicinal cannabis since 2012.[20]

Products in development[edit]

Cannabidiol oral solution[edit]

In 2015 GW Pharmaceutical initiated Phase 3 clinical trials of cannabidiol by mouth for treatment of two orphan conditions in children – Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.[21][22] GW also received fast track designation from the US FDA for use of the drug candidate to treat newborns with epilepsy.[23]

The drug, under the brandname Epidiolex, was given US FDA approval in June 2018.[24][25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "GW Pharmaceuticals Ltd". 17 August 2017.
  2. ^ The Observer, Sunday 17 April 2011)
  3. ^ "Prices and markets Stocks of GW PHARM". 28 June 2001.
  4. ^ Elizabeth Landau (21 June 2010). "World's first fully approved cannabis drug on sale in UK".
  5. ^ Pete Brady (25 April 2003). "GW Pharm responds to CC". Archived from the original on 12 November 2013.
  6. ^ Cannabis in Medical Practice: A Legal, Historical, and Pharmacological Overview of the Therapeutic Use of Marijuana (Google eBook) – via Google Books.
  7. ^ "The Inheritance of Chemical Phenotype in Cannabis sativa L.(HortaPharm B.V., 1075 VS, Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Instituto Sperimentale per le Colture Industriali, 40128 Bologna, Italy)". 1 January 2003.
  8. ^ "sam-the-skunkman [Four Twenty Wiki]". 16 August 2011.
  9. ^ "inauthor:"Robert Connell Clarke" – Google Search".
  10. ^ "(DAVID A WATSON 49366-018 55-White-M UNKNOWN NOT IN BOP CUSTODY) david watson aka SKUNKMAN".
  11. ^ Marks, MD; Tian, L; Wenger, JP; et al. (2009). "Seeds from the marijuana cultivar Skunk no. 1 were provided by HortaPharm BV (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and imported under a US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) permit to a registered controlled substance research facility" (PDF). J. Exp. Bot. 60: 3715–26. doi:10.1093/jxb/erp210. PMC 2736886. PMID 19581347.
  12. ^ "Details released of collaboration between GW Pharmaceuticals and HortaPharm medicinal cannabis".
  13. ^ Breen, Bill (1 February 2004). "The Cannabis Conundrum".
  14. ^ Breen, Bill (1 February 2004). "Dr. Dope's Connection".
  15. ^ "GW Pharma aims for $150m in Nasdaq offering". Financial Times. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  16. ^ UK Medicines Online Nabiximols Page accessed 3 February 2016
  17. ^ "Extraction of pharmaceutically active components from plant materials".
  18. ^ "Is Big Pharma set to corner the American market on medical marijuana?". 25 April 2011. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012.
  19. ^ "GWPharma – GW and Bayer Announce Marketing Agreement on Pioneering New Cannabis-based Treatment". 30 September 2004.
  20. ^ "Medical Cannabis Strains – Geoffrey Guy, MD (GW Pharmaceuticals, UK (Conference)". 23 February 2010.
  21. ^ Ward, Andrew (9 January 2014). "GW raises nearly $90m to develop childhood epilepsy treatment". Financial Times. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  22. ^ Butticè, Claudio (9 December 2015). "Therapeutic Cannabis for children – a possible new treatment for epilepsy". Meds News. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  23. ^ Tony Quested for Business Weekly. 6 August 2015 FDA backs cannabis-based medicine for in-danger newborns
  24. ^ "FDA approves country's first medicine made from marijuana - STAT". STAT. 25 June 2018. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  25. ^ Julia Kollewe (25 June 2018), "UK epilepsy drug to become first cannabis-based medicine in US", The Guardian

External links[edit]