Drug Development

GW Pharma shares dented after cannabinoid drug fails a PhIIa study on focal seizures

After rounding up a considerable portfolio of promising late-stage data for its cannabis-based anti-convulsive drug Epidiolex, the UK’s GW Pharmaceuticals reported after the market closed that another earlier-stage therapy of theirs had whiffed in a Phase IIa trial for focal seizures.

The cannabinoid drug GWP42006 did no better than a placebo in reducing focal seizures, with comparable reductions of about 40% in both arms. The drug arm did stand out in one way: outscoring the placebo on adverse events, 73% in the drug arm compared to 48% in the very active placebo arm. Most of those adverse events, they add, were mild to moderate.

The placebo response overall was much higher than researchers had expected, and they’re studying the data further to try and find out why.

GW’s stock $GWPH slid a bit more than 5% in after-market trading.

The biotech also has more plans to study the drug in other areas, including epilepsy and autism spectrum disorders.

“Whilst the results of this adult focal seizure study for GWP42006 are disappointing, we remain committed to advancing this pipeline compound to address unmet needs in the field of autism spectrum disorders, in which a promising body of pre-clinical data has already been generated, as well as continuing to explore the product’s potential within the field of epilepsy,” said Justin Gover, GW’s CEO.

Image: Justin Gover, GW Pharma

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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