The UK medical cannabis company and producer of Epidiolex has been taken over in a multi-billion pound deal.
In what has been described as a “turning point” for the industry, GW Pharmaceuticals has been bought by JAZZ pharma for $7.2 billion.
GW Pharma has held the monopoly on the UK market, as the producer of one of the few licensed cannabis medicines, Epidiolex.
The epilepsy drug is thought to have improved the lives of many patients living with severe and rare forms of the condition.
Nawan Butt, Portfolio Manager of The Medical Cannabis and Wellness UCITS fund – Europe’s first Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) focused on cannabis – said the deal marked a “notable turning point” for the sector and predicted this would be the first of more acquisitions to come.
The fund has focused on the medical side of cannabis with pharmaceutical companies such as GW Pharma at the core of its portfolio, accounting for around 14 percent of the fund’s holdings.
“GW Pharmaceuticals PLC is a UK based company that made history by getting the first FDA approved drug derived from cannabis. Their drug, Epidiolex has changed the lives of many living with epilepsy, and they are building out a platform looking at other areas,” Butt commented.
“When they started most global pharma companies were hesitant to do work with this plant ignoring centuries of evidence there were some health benefits. As times are changing and attitudes adjusting, more and more companies are getting involved with the sector. Today could be a notable turning point as a more traditional pharma company, JAZZ pharma, has agreed to purchase GW Pharma for over $7B. We don’t think this is the last deal we will see in the sector.”
Butt added that the recent US election results would play a key role in establishing the medical cannabis sector.
“One of the sectors that benefited the most from the US results was cannabis. The sector is still in the early phase of its growth to becoming a more mainstream Consumer and Healthcare category and with the Democrats in power we expect the move towards legalization in the US to speed up,” he said.
“With its reality becoming more widely appreciated we have seen many of the US recreational focused cannabis names do extremely well over the past month. But now the focus of the sector could switch to the medical side.”
“Today’s events should draw attention to other companies doing work in this sector and the opportunities they are exploring.”
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