Shares in GW Pharmaceuticals had already risen 1.5% on the London Stock Exchange this morning, after the group posted a strong set of preliminary results for the year ended September 30, 2007.

The company, a developer and manufacturer of a line of cannabinoid-based medicines, pleased investors by booking a huge leap in turnover for the period, which more than doubled from £2 million in 2006 to £5.7 million.

Sales growth was spurred by turnover of its flagship drug Sativex (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol), which leapt 78% in the UK and 125% in Canada to generate combined revenues of £1.1 million.

During the year, Sativex gained a second regulatory approval in Canada, extending its use to patients with cancer pain as well as MS sufferers with nerve pain, while, in the UK, the medicine continues to be prescribed on a named-patient bases even though European approval has not yet been obtained.

However, the major driver for the increase in sales were research and development fee revenues of £2.5 million, which represent R&D costs incurred by GW and charged to Otsuka Pharmaceuticlas under the companies US licence agreement for Sativex and their cannabinoid research collaboration.

The increase in turnover helped the group to reduce its net loss for the period, which was down % at £10.9 million, in line with the company’s expectations.

Promising results in diabetes
Meanwhile, GW reported “highly promising” results from preclinical pharmacology studies and a Phase I trial of its candidate cannabinoid treatment for type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders.

Preclinical studies with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) in diabetes showed that the agent had a “desirable effect” on plasma insulin, leptin and adiponectin levels, which all play an important role in the development and treatment of the condition. Importantly, a cut in total cholesterol but rise in the good high-density lipoprotein type was also observed.

Furthermore, the randomised, double blind, placebo controlled, dose escalation, Phase I study of THCV in twelve healthy volunteers indicates that the drug is well tolerated at target therapeutic doses.

“These new results confirm that GW’s proprietary plant-based cannabinoids have significant potential as treatments in this important branch of therapeutics,” remarked Dr Stephen Wright, R&D Director of GW, and he said the firm will now “build upon the preclinical data, as well as the Phase I trial results, by entering Phase II proof of principle studies during 2008.”