Why Cannabinoid Developer GW Pharma Looks Better Than Ever to Investors

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The world’s largest company involved with producing therapeutics derived from cannabis posted a fiscal first-quarter loss of $19.25 million Tuesday morning, and the stock traded higher by about 3.5% early in the premarket session. GW Pharmaceuticals PLC (NASDAQ: GWPH) said it lost $0.768 per American depositary share (ADS) in its fiscal first quarter, well below analysts’ consensus estimate of $1.20. Each ADS represents 12 ordinary shares.

At Monday’s closing price of $120.76 per ADS, GW Pharma’s market cap was $3.04 billion, a gain of $170 million since we named the top 10 companies in the marijuana sector last December. The company came public in the United States in 2013 at $8.90 per ADS. Last summer, GW Pharma held a secondary offering of 2.8 million ADSs at $90 apiece.

GW Pharma is developing and preparing to commercialize its orphan epilepsy treatment Epidiolex, which the company has developed on its proprietary cannabinoid product platform.

The company’s CEO Justin Gover said:

As we look forward to 2017, our primary focus is on completing the Epidiolex NDA, which we expect to submit to the FDA in the middle of this year. With three positive Phase 3 trials delivered in 2016, we remain confident in the prospects for Epidiolex’s approval and are accelerating our preparations for a highly successful launch. Beyond Epidiolex, the value of GW’s cannabinoid platform is further illustrated by promising new clinical data in the field of oncology and we continue to advance a number of additional clinical programs that will yield data this year.

Cannabidiol, the purified cannabinoid on which Epidiolex is based, does not contain the active ingredient (THC) that produces marijuana’s well-known high. The FDA has not approved any treatment based on extracts of marijuana, but has approved two drugs that use synthetic cannabinoids to treat vomiting and nausea caused by cancer treatment drugs.

ADSs traded up about 2.7% Tuesday morning, at $124.00 in a 52-week range of $118.70 to $120.94. The 12-month consensus price target is $150.78.