GW Pharmaceuticals has posted a loss for the three months ended December 31 as the UK company ups its R&D spend to cannabinoid pipeline

A net loss of £2.8 million compared to a profit of £2.1 million for the like, year-earlier period, though revenues rose 44% to £7.5 million. This was due to sales of Sativex (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol) for improving the symptoms of spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis which is now approved in 25 countries; an agreement was recently signed with Ipsen to promote the oral spray in Latin America.

GW chief executive Justin Gover noted the firm's successful US follow-on offering last monthraised $101 million, which "reflects excitement" about Epidiolex. The latter, an oral liquid formulation of highly purified cannabidiol extract, "has the potential to meet significant unmet needs in the treatment of orphan childhood epilepsy syndromes such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome", he said.

The new funds raised give GW "the financial strength to accelerate this development programme whilst retaining global commercial rights", added Mr Gover. He concluded by saying 2014 should see a significant amount of milestones, including Phase III cancer pain data for Sativex.