NEWS BRIEF

UK Company Raising $148M to Advance CBD Drug

British drug maker GW Pharmaceuticals plans to raise $148 million from U.S. investors to advance an epilepsy drug that uses cannabidiol (CBD).

The company will sell 1.7 million American Depository Shares on the Nasdaq – where it trades under the symbol GWPH – priced at $86.83 each.

The drug, called Epidiolex, contains cannabidiol oil extracted from a crop of marijuana it grows in England. Epidiolex recently received fast-track status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which means regulators will speed up clinical testing and its potential approval.

The development marks an important step for CBD-based drugs, which ease pain but don’t provide the typical high associated with marijuana.

While cannabis advocates have long touted CBD-specific treatments – such as the popular “Charlotte’s Web oil – the FDA has not approved the drugs. Numerous states have approved CBD-specific laws for children with epilepsy, however families that participate in such programs are still breaking federal law.

, UK Company Raising $148M to Advance CBD DrugThe sizable fundraising effort also highlights investor confidence in the company’s research. GW Pharmaceuticals said that a recent 12-week clinical trial on American children produced “encouraging” results in treating epilepsy as well as a disease called Dravet Syndrome, which also causes seizures.

Of nine test patients with Dravet Syndrome, three were seizure-free by the end of the trial period.

GW Pharmaceuticals raised $31 million when it debuted on Wall Street in 2013 and then raised an additional $90 million in January.

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