Preliminary sales figures for the first cannabis-based medicine in the United States have been announced by GW Pharmaceuticals’ CEO Justin Gover, following a recent interview on America’s CNBC, and they show a meteoric first year for the company’s CBD-based medicine Epidiolex.
Epidiolex, which contains cannabidiol to treat severe forms of epilepsy, brought in $104 million in net sales in the fourth quarter and a total of $296 million in 2019 across the globe, the British pharmaceutical company preannounced for its quarterly and full-year performances.
Speaking to CNBC’s Jim Cramer in a “Mad Money” interview, Gover said. “It’s an incredible launch year for any medication that proves that this kind of medicine is really making a difference to patients,” “It shows real value to the health-care system, and it sets us up, I think, in a very nice way for what should be another great year for us in 2020.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex in 2018, and the oral solution became available later that year for patients ages two and older with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two rare and severe forms of epilepsy. In 2015, about 3.4 million people were diagnosed with the central nervous system disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It’s a new mechanism to treat epilepsy. We’re obviously treating very high-need patients, often children. They’re having many seizures a day,” Gover said. “So the ability to provide a real advance in this therapeutic area, together with the fact that this is the first ever cannabis product approved by the FDA, has together created I think an exceptional environment for us to commercialize this product.”
GW Pharma last year received approval from the European Union to market the same drug as Epidiolex in 28 countries on the continent. The company said it would roll out the product in France, Germany and the United Kingdom in the fourth quarter of 2019, followed by Spain and Italy this year.
GW Pharma is expected to report fourth-quarter and full-year 2019 earnings in late February. Epidiolex sales accounted for almost all of the company’s revenue.
Source: This article first appeared on cnbc.com