Shares in GW Pharma were trading up more than 50% on the London Stock Exchange last night after a US-based analyst nearly tripled the price target for the firm.

Lazard Capital analyst Joshua Schimmer reportedly hiked up GW's price target from $22 to $65 and maintained a 'buy' rating on the UK group's stock, citing massive potential for one of the firm's experimental cannabis-based epilepsy drugs and its overall orphan drug pipeline.

The move sparked a trading frenzy on both sides of the Atlantic, as investors welcomed his comments (as reported by the media) that GW's Cannabidiol (CBD) childhood epilepsy programme is "one of the most compelling opportunities" Lazard has come across.

According to Schimmer, the evidence suggests that CBD has anti-seizure properties and could help to address "an enormous unmet need", and he puts the probability of the drug making it to market at 80%.

Three expanded access INDs have recently been granted by the FDA to US clinicians to allow treatment of a small number of paediatric epilepsy patients with a CBD formulation supplied by GW, which "may generate initial evidence to add CBD as a further pipeline candidate for clinical evaluation in epilepsy," the UK drugmaker said.

Elsewhere, GW announced just a couple of weeks ago that it has kicked off a Phase I clinical trial of GWP42006 in epilepsy.

The drug is non-psychoactive cannabinoid extracted from specific chemotypes of the cannabis plant, which has shown ability to treat seizures in preclinical models with "significantly fewer side effects than currently approved anti-epileptic drugs," it said.