World’s Largest Cannabis Deal Sees UK Firm GW Pharma Bought For $7.2bn IRISH firm Jazz Pharmaceuticals has agreed to purchase UK medical cannabis trailblazer GW Pharmaceuticals for $7.2bn. The GW Pharmaceuticals is undertaking a major research programme in the UK to develop and market distinct cannabis-based prescription medicines [THC:CBD, High THC, High CBD] in a range of medical conditions. The cannabis for this programme is grown in a secret location in the UK. It is expected that the … Cannabinoid Science Jazz, through our world-leading GW Cannabinoid Platform, is the leader in cannabinoid science, and we passionately believe in the therapeutic and breakthrough potential of
World’s Largest Cannabis Deal Sees UK Firm GW Pharma Bought For $7.2bn
IRISH firm Jazz Pharmaceuticals has agreed to purchase UK medical cannabis trailblazer GW Pharmaceuticals for $7.2bn.
The deal will be the biggest ever transaction in the rapidly-emerging global cannabis sector and marks a major milestone for the European industry.
The announcement was made on the NASDAQ exchange – where both firms are listed – on Wednesday February 3. GW’s share price respond sharply to the news rising by over 50% to more than $210.
Jazz Pharmaceuticals is based in Dublin and has a strong presence across western Europe and North America. Its existing drug portfolio is currently targeted at sleep and oncology.
GW is one of the world’s leading medical cannabis companies with its home-grown cannabis going into its licensed drugs Sativex and epilepsy drug Epidyolex. Its first cultivation facility was built over 20 years ago.
Its research operations are based in Kent and its growing facilities are owned and managed by British Sugar in Wissington, Norfolk. They consist almost 2m sq ft of growing space – equivalent to 34 football pitches.
June 1998, And GW’s First UK Licence
The company was established by Dr Geoffrey Guy and Dr Brain Whittle and received its first medical research licence on June 11, 1998, from the UK Home Office.
Mr Guy and colleagues had noted large amounts of evidence that cannabis has beneficial effects on a number of medical symptoms.
At the time Mr Guy was quoted as saying: “My professional view of cannabis as a substance is that it appears to be a remarkably safe substance in comparison to most medicines prescribed today.
“The more I learn about this plant the more fascinated I become. It has through its various constituents multiple effects of therapeutic interest, many of which are now being validated by the enormous growth in basic cannabinoid research.”
Nasdaq Listing In 2016
The company left London’s junior market in 2016 for a listing on Nasdaq and is now the world’s largest medical cannabis company.
Stephen Murphy, Co-founder of leading global data and Canna-tech firm Prohibition Partners, said the deal highlighted the upward trajectory of cannabis and its growing acceptance across the pharmaceutical space.
“What you are seeing is the further validation of cannabis-based medicine and the recognition of the impact by traditional Pharma that cannabis will have on healthcare over the next decade.
“The premium paid by Jazz acknowledges the growing change in regulations globally that is providing patients with better access to cannabis-based medicines.
“The volume of clinical trials using cultured cannabinoids confirms what we identified in our recent Pharmaceutical Cannabis Report regarding future M&A within the Pharma sector,” he told BusinessCann.
Alastair Moore, Co-Founder and Director of UK Cannabis consultancy Hanway Associates, likewise, welcomed the deal saying: “This is really important news for the sector, and will make a lot of people pay attention to it for the first time.
A Fascinating Story
“The journey from their first Home Office licence in 1998 as a small British biotech company researching plant-based medicines to becoming a global cannabinoid drug development giant is fascinating.
“Attitudes, laws, and our understanding of cannabis science has changed so much in that period of time.
“I expect that this will have a positive impact on the IPOs lined up for early this year on the UK exchanges, as well as general confidence in the sector. This is a case study for how the sector can create value.
“I really like how it is both a story about really early-movers and a reminder that we are still in the beginning stages of this sector’s journey into the mainstream.”
Heralding A New Wave Of Innovation
Gavin Sathianathan, CEO of Cannabis technology firm Alta Flora, said: “Jazz has acquired the gold standard in cannabinoid medicines. Jazz may even have underpaid at $220 per share, given the vast addressable market for cannabinoid medicines and GW’s unique portfolio of IP and FDA-approved drugs.
“GW’s work over the last two decades validating cannabinoid medicines in the pharmaceutical regulatory framework is clearly the pathway that the financial markets value given the multiple that the stock enjoys.
“As a co-founder of Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies, we draw heavily on these lessons; with easier access to capital through the LSE and the UK’s long history of excellence in life sciences, I believe that this acquisition signals the start of a new wave of innovation in the field of cannabinoid therapies.”
Steve Moore, Strategic Counsel at the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, said: “It’s a vindication 20-plus years approach adopted by GW Pharma. They chose a ‘pure’ pharmaceutical path unlike many other medical cannabis companies who have operated in markets where access is regulated via a so called ‘third highway’.”
Jazz Pharma will pay $200 per share in cash and $20 in stock for each share owned, or a premium of about 50% over GW’s Tuesday closing price.
In a joint press release the companies said the transaction had been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.
They said: “Jazz and GW are focused on developing life-changing medicines for people with serious diseases, often with limited or no treatment options.”
Cannabis-based medicines–GW pharmaceuticals: high CBD, high THC, medicinal cannabis–GW pharmaceuticals, THC:CBD
GW Pharmaceuticals is undertaking a major research programme in the UK to develop and market distinct cannabis-based prescription medicines [THC:CBD, High THC, High CBD] in a range of medical conditions. The cannabis for this programme is grown in a secret location in the UK. It is expected that the product will be marketed in the US in late 2003. GW’s cannabis-based products include selected phytocannabinoids from cannabis plants, including D9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The company is investigating their use in three delivery systems, including sublingual spray, sublingual tablet and inhaled (but not smoked) dosage forms. The technology is protected by patent applications. Four different formulations are currently being investigated, including High THC, THC:CBD (narrow ratio), THC:CBD (broad ratio) and High CBD. GW is also developing a specialist security technology that will be incorporated in all its drug delivery systems. This technology allows for the recording and remote monitoring of patient usage to prevent any potential abuse of its cannabis-based medicines. GW plans to enter into agreements with other companies following phase III development, to secure the best commercialisation terms for its cannabis-based medicines. In June 2003, GW announced that exclusive commercialisation rights for the drug in the UK had been licensed to Bayer AG. The drug will be marketed under the Sativex brand name. This agreement also provides Bayer with an option to expand their license to include the European Union and certain world markets. GW was granted a clinical trial exemption certificate by the Medicines Control Agency to conduct clinical studies with cannabis-based medicines in the UK. The exemption includes investigations in the relief of pain of neurological origin and defects of neurological function in the following indications: multiple sclerosis (MS), spinal cord injury, peripheral nerve injury, central nervous system damage, neuroinvasive cancer, dystonias, cerebral vascular accident and spina bifida, as well as for the relief of pain and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis and also pain relief in brachial plexus injury. The UK Government stated that it would be willing to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 to permit the introduction of a cannabis-based medicine. GW stated in its 2002 Annual Report that it was currently conducting five phase III trials of its cannabis derivatives, including a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with a sublingual spray containing High THC in more than 100 patients with cancer pain in the UK. Also included is a phase III trial of THC:CBD (narrow ratio) being conducted in patients with severe pain due to brachial plexus injury, as are two more phase III trials of THC:CBD (narrow ratio) targeting spasticity and bladder dysfunction in multiple sclerosis patients. Another phase III trial of THC:CBD (narrow ratio) in patients with spinal cord injury is also being conducted. Results from the trials are expected during 2003. Three additional trials are also in the early stages of planning. These trials include a phase I trial of THC:CBD (broad ratio) in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, a phase I trial of High CBD in patients with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, and a preclinical trial of High CBD in various CNS disorders (including epilepsy, stroke and head injury). GW Pharmaceuticals submitted an application for approval of cannabis-based medicines to UK regulatory authorities in March 2003. Originally GW hoped to market cannabis-based prescription medicines by 2004, but is now planning for a launch in the UK towards the end of 2003. Several trials for GW’s cannabis derivatives have also been completed, including four randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III clinical trials conducted in the UK. The trials were initiated by GW in April 2002, to investigate the use of a sublingual spray containing THC:CBD (narrow ratio) in the following medical conditions: pain in spinal cord injury, pain and sleep in MS and spinal cord injury, neuropathic pain in MS and general neuropathic pain (presented as allodynia). Results from these trials show that THC:CBD (narrow ratio) caused statistically significant reductions in neuropathic pain in patients with MS and other conditions. In addition, improvements in other MS symptoms were observed as well. Phase II studies of THC:CBD (narrow ratio) have also been completed in patients with MS, spinal cord injury, neuropathic pain and a small number of patients with peripheral neuropathy secondary to diabetes mellitus or AIDS. A phase II trial of THC:CBD (broad ratio) has also been completed in a small number of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, as has a trial of High CBD in patients with neurogenic symptoms. A phase II trial has also been evaluated with High THC in small numbers of patients for the treatment of perioperative pain. The phase II trials provided positive results and confirmed an excellent safety profile for cannabis-based medicines. GW Pharmaceuticals received an IND approval to commence phase II clinical trials in Canada in patients with chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury in 2002. Following meetings with the US FDA, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Office for National Drug Control Policy, and National Institute for Drug Abuse, GW was granted an import license from the DEA and has imported its first cannabis extracts into the US. Preclinical research with these extracts in the US is ongoing.
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Jazz, through our world-leading GW Cannabinoid Platform, is the leader in cannabinoid science, and we passionately believe in the therapeutic and breakthrough potential of cannabis-based medicines to revolutionize how patients deal with their often-overlooked diseases and redefine what living with their disease means.
The world has only recently started to recognize the true potential of cannabinoid science to bring FDA-approved medicines to patients in a new frontier of medicine. Cannabinoids interact with many neurotransmitter and neuromodulator systems in the human body, offering the potential to meet currently unmet needs of patients in multiple treatment areas. Through our GW Cannabinoid Platform and research into endocannabinoids, Jazz is particularly well-positioned at exploring cannabinoid-based therapeutic prospects.
At Jazz, we seek solutions for rare or complex diseases, and work to make those solutions available to the often-overlooked patients who need them. In 2021, we acquired GW Pharmaceuticals and integrated two teams with a shared vision of developing innovative and differentiated therapies that advance science and caring about patients with often-overlooked diseases.
As a leader in cannabinoid science and the first and only company to receive a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a plant-derived cannabinoid medicine, GW Pharmaceuticals brings a deep scientific understanding of the pharmacological effects, unique formulation, rigorous clinical testing and regulated manufacturing process of this growing treatment category.
We are building an even stronger company together and look forward to the greater impact we will continue to drive for patients, caregivers, health care providers, and other stakeholders in the cannabinoid space.
Jazz’s existing early-stage research into endocannabinoid therapies, combined with the world-leading GW Cannabinoid Platform, has expanded and diversified our commercial portfolio and growing neuroscience pipeline into several therapeutic areas. To learn more about Jazz’s neuroscience pipeline, please visit here.
GW Cannabinoid Platform
Cannabinoid science has opened the door to the development of FDA-approved plant-derived cannabinoid medications that are used to treat a number of neurological diseases. Over more than two decades, GW Pharmaceuticals, now a part of Jazz Pharmaceuticals, established a world-leading cannabinoid science platform to develop a deep, innovative pipeline of early and late-stage cannabinoid product candidates and highly specialized growing and manufacturing expertise.
Through these committed efforts, GW developed and commercialized the world’s first prescription medicine derived from the cannabis plant. Unlike non-FDA-approved cannabidiol products or cannabis-derived products, GW’s regulatory-approved portfolio ensures that every product manufactured has a safety and efficacy profile that has been thoroughly evaluated in clinical trials, independently peer-reviewed, approved by regulatory authorities (FDA, MHRA, etc.), and consistently manufactured to ensure the highest quality standards are met. To learn more about the difference between FDA-approved and non-FDA-approved cannabinoid products, please visit https://www.cannabinoideducation360.com/ ™ .
Building on GW’s success as a pioneer in this emerging treatment area, Jazz continues to trailblaze to enable the development, manufacture, and commercialization of regulatory approved plant-derived cannabinoid medicines with the potential to transform the lives of patients and their families. To learn more about international cannabinoid science, please visit cannabinoidclinical.com ℠ .