Following its successful listing on the Nasdaq last year, the UK's GW Pharmaceuticals has raised gross proceeds of $87.9 million in a follow-on offering of its American Depositary Shares.

The oversubscribed offering was priced at $36.00 per ADS, a premium of 10.1% to its closing middle market price on December 19, when the financing was announced. The initial public offering on the Nasdaq in May 2013 saw shares priced at $8.90, which raised about $31 million.

GW, best-known for its cannabis-based oral spray Sativex (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol) for improving the symptoms of spasticity due to MS, says that the cash will be used be used for development of its childhood epilepsy orphan development programme centred on Epidiolex.

The latter is an oral liquid formulation of highly purified cannabidiol extract. Orphan drug designation has been granted for Epidiolex by the US Food and Drug Administration for Dravet syndrome.

Chief executive Justin Gover said Epidiolex has the potential to meet significant unmet needs in Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. He added that "with the new funds raised and GW retaining global commercial rights for the epilepsy programmes," the company has "enhanced its potential to deliver value".

Sativex close to French OK

Further good news for GW came from over the Channel after France's national drug safety agency, the ANSM, issued a preliminary 'yes' for Sativex to be launched in the country.

The decision follows on from a decision taken by health minister Marisol Touraine last June that drugs derived from cannabis can be considered for approval in France. The ANSM said that treatment should be initiated by a neurologist and a hospital therapist.