GW Pharmaceuticals saw a welcome rise in its share price this morning after a few weeks characterised by a string of disappointments, after partner, Bayer, said it had launched the firm’s cannabis-based medicine, Sativex (tetrahydrocannabinol plus cannabidiol), onto the Canadian market.

Back in April, Canada became the first country in the world to give the regulatory green light to Sativex for the relief of neuropathic pain in adult multiple sclerosis patients [[20/04/05d]].

Dr Geoffrey Guy, GW’s executive chairman, commented: “Market launch of Sativex in Canada is a major milestone in GW’s development and marks not only our first successful product launch but the first launch of a cannabis derived prescription medicine anywhere in the world. GW has not only been responsible for securing regulatory approval in Canada but has also established commercial manufacturing capability so that it can supply Sativex to the Canadian market. We can now look forward to receiving our first sales revenues through supply of product to Canada.”

However, the drug’s route to approval in other markets promises to be a more lengthy process. Earlier this month, the firm was forced to rethink its plans for Sativex in the UK after the regulator said that the company would have to conduct an additional clinical study before approval could be granted [[10/06/05a]]. GW had originally hoped to win the green light in its home market back in 2003 [[03/12/03g]].

- Meanwhile, GW says that net losses for the six months to March 31 narrowed from £6.9 million pounds to £5.1 million. The firm ended the period with cash and short-term investments totalling £14 million.