Jazz Pharmaceuticals acquires UK medical cannabis firm for $7.2bn


Alex Baldwin

Jazz Pharmaceuticals acquires UK medical cannabis firm for $7.2bn

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Jazz Pharmaceuticals has acquired UK medicinal cannabis company GW Pharmaceuticals in a takeover worth $7.2 billion.

The acquisition, which the UK Bioindustry Association described as the biggest-ever for a UK biotech, will boost Jazz’s neuroscience portfolio with GW’s prescription cannabinoid medicine Epidiolex (cannabidiol).

Epidiolex is the first cannabinoid to receive Food and Drug Administration approval and is being used to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, Dravet Syndrome and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, all of which are characterised by early on-set epilepsy.

It is also approved by the European Medicines Agency for treating patients over the age of two with LGS and Dravet Syndrome.

So far, Epidiolex has achieved approximately $510 million in annual sales since its launch two years ago.

"Jazz is proud of our leadership position in sleep medicines and rapidly growing oncology business. We are excited to add GW's industry-leading cannabinoid platform, innovative pipeline and products, which will strengthen and broaden our neuroscience portfolio, further diversify our revenue and drive sustainable, long-term value creation opportunities," said Bruce Cozadd, chairman and CEO of Jazz Pharmaceuticals.

GW was founded in 1998 by Geoffrey Guy and has been at the forefront of researching the medical benefits of cannabis, with its first round of clinical trials involving the drug taking place in 1999.

"We have a shared vision of developing and commercializing innovative medicines that address significant unmet needs in neuroscience and an approach of putting patients first. Together, we will have an opportunity to reach and impact more patients through a broader portfolio of neuroscience-focused therapies than ever before," said Justin Gover, CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals.

The transaction is expected to close in Q2 2021.

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Jazz Pharmaceutical, GW Pharmaceutical, Epidiolex, cannabidiol, European Medicines Agency