Jazz Pharmaceuticals to acquire Epidiolex developer GW Pharmaceuticals for $7.2bn

Irish biopharma company Jazz Pharmaceuticals has agreed to acquire British pharma company GW Pharmaceuticals in a cash-cum-stock deal worth $7.2 billion.

Upon closing of the deal, the combined firm is expected to be a major force in neuroscience with a global commercial and operational presence.

GW Pharmaceuticals is engaged in discovering, developing, manufacturing and commercializing therapeutics from its cannabinoid product platform for addressing a range of diseases.

The lead product of the British pharma company is Epidiolex (cannabidiol) oral solution. The plant-derived cannabinoid medicine has approval in the US for the treatment of patients aged one-year and older with seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), Dravet Syndrome, and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC).

Apart from its approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Epidiolex under the tradename Epidyolex is authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the adjunctive treatment of seizures associated with LGS and Dravet syndrome in addition to clobazam.

The EMA indication is for patients, aged two years of age and older. Epidyolex is being reviewed by the EMA for the treatment of seizures associated with TSC.

Apart from Epidiolex, GW Pharmaceuticals has a pipeline of cannabinoid product candidates that includes nabiximols, which is in phase 3 trials in spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury. The British pharma company also has earlier-stage cannabinoid product candidates for the treatment of autism and schizophrenia.

Bruce Cozadd – chairman and CEO of Jazz Pharmaceuticals said: “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.

“We are joining two teams that share a passion for, and track record of, developing differentiated therapies that advance science and transform the lives of patients. This will help facilitate a successful integration and bring added capabilities to Jazz.”

As per the terms of the deal, GW Pharmaceuticals’ shareholders will get $220 per American Depositary Share (ADS), in the form of $200 in cash and $20 in Jazz Pharmaceuticals shares.

Justin Gover – CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals said: “Over the last two decades, GW has built an unparalleled global leadership position in cannabinoid science, including the successful launch of Epidiolex, a breakthrough product within the field of epilepsy, and a diverse and robust neuroscience pipeline. We believe that Jazz is an ideal growth partner that is committed to supporting our commercial efforts, as well as ongoing clinical and research programs.

“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.”

The deal, which is subject to the satisfaction or waiver of the closing conditions, is anticipated to be wrapped up in Q2 2021.

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