Sunday 17 December 2017

Cannabis-based pain drug nears approval for Ireland

Tom Lyons

A cannabis-based pain-relief spray backed by Tom Lynch, the pharmaceutical veteran, received a regulatory high last week by being recommended for approval in 10 more European countries, including Ireland.

GW Pharmaceuticals, the AIM-listed developer of the new treatment called Sativex, already sells the product in Britain, Spain, Germany and Denmark, and hopes to launch it here this year. Justin Gover, managing director of GW said the only obstacle remaining to selling the spray in Ireland was for it to be added to the controlled drug schedule which will allow it be prescribed by doctors here.

"We'll launch the product," he said, "as soon as this is completed."

Sativex has been developed to ease muscle stiffness and spasms associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), but Gover said it was also being trialled to treat pain associated with cancer. The market for Sativex as a treatment for MS sufferers is estimated at €100m in Europe by analysts, but as a cancer pain relief would be worth considerably more.

Lynch, a former senior executive in Elan and founder of Amarin, is both a non-executive director and shareholder of GW.

"There are a very small number of European pharma executives who have guided small companies to become major international companies. Lynch is one of those people and that is our aspiration," Gover said.

Sativex is not addictive and has no withdrawal symptoms, and users experience no cannabis-like effects.

Sunday Indo Business

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