GW Director Wins Wellcome Medal

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Dec 11, 2011

Porton Down, UK; 12 December 2011: GW Pharmaceuticals plc is delighted to announce that Professor Roger Pertwee, GW’s Director of Pharmacology and an internationally recognised cannabinoid scientist, is to be the 19th recipient of the Wellcome Gold Medal, presented every two years by the British Pharmacological Society.

Of the previous recipients, three have been Nobel Prize winners and 16 have been Fellows of the Royal Society.  

Professor Pertwee, who is also Professor of Neuropharmacology at the University of Aberdeen, joined GW in 2002. He is one of the world's leading cannabinoid scientists, having researched the area for over 40 years, and is the author of more than 240 publications. He has frequently been consulted on the therapeutic potential of cannabis and cannabinoids by parliamentary committees and leading medical organisations and was involved with both the 1998/99 Royal Pharmaceutical Society working party on cannabis and the House of Lords Science & Technology Committee investigation into cannabis.

Professor Pertwee said: “I feel delighted and very honoured to have been given this medal by such a prestigious society, especially because it relates to pharmacological achievements, in my case mainly in the area of cannabinoid pharmacology.

Dr Geoffrey Guy, Chairman of GW, commented: “This award is very well merited and we congratulate Roger.  He has played a pivotal role in cannabinoid science, which has led to GW’s development of Sativex, the world's first cannabis based medicine, launched last year as a treatment for spasticity due to multiple sclerosis.  He and GW are now actively engaged in exploring the potential of other cannabinoids in a range of therapeutic areas including diabetes, epilepsy and cancer.”

Professor Pertwee is currently focusing on the pharmacology of phytocannabinoids (plant-based cannabinoids) and has undertaken a comprehensive programme of neuropharmacological screening of a range of phytocannabinoids. “The main objective of this research is to identify and characterize the pharmacological actions and targets of these cannabis-derived compounds in a manner that will facilitate the discovery of new therapeutic uses for phytocannabinoids, some of which can already be prescribed by doctors to reduce cancer pain or the spasticity and pain of multiple sclerosis. Potential new uses we have recently discovered include the treatment of certain liver disorders, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and drug dependence.”

Professor Pertwee is also investigating the pharmacology of synthetic cannabinoids and of endocannabinoids. “Endocannabinoids, which occur naturally within the human body, have the capacity to reduce the severity or unwanted effects of disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorders, intestinal inflammatory disorders, atherosclerosis and cancer,” he said.

It was collaborative research carried out in the early 1990s by Professor Pertwee and Professor Raphael Mechoulam in Jerusalem that first led to the discovery of endocannabinoids.


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Notes to Editors

About Professor Pertwee

Roger Pertwee has three degrees from the University of Oxford: MA (in biochemistry), D.Phil. (in pharmacology) and D.Sc. (in physiological sciences). He is Professor of Neuropharmacology at the University of Aberdeen, Director of Pharmacology for GW Pharmaceuticals, co-chairman of the International Union of Pharmacology (IUPHAR) Subcommittee on Cannabinoid Receptors, a co-ordinator of the British Pharmacological Society’s Special Interest Group on Cannabinoids, and visiting Professor at the University of Hertfordshire.

He has also served as chairman of the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine (IACM; 2005-2007) and as President of the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS; 1997-1998; 2007-2008) and is currently ICRS International Secretary and a member of the IACM board of directors. He was the recipient of the 2002 Mechoulam Award “for his outstanding contributions to cannabinoid research” and in 2005 was recognised as an “ISI Highly Cited Researcher”.

His principal publications are listed at:

About GW

GW was founded in 1998 and listed on the AIM, a market of the London Stock Exchange, in June 2001. Operating under license from the UK Home Office, the company researches and develops cannabinoid pharmaceutical products for patients who suffer from a range of serious ailments, in particular multiple sclerosis and cancer pain. GW has assembled a large in-house scientific team with expertise in cannabinoid science as well as experience in the development of both plant-based prescription pharmaceutical products and medicines containing controlled substances. GW occupies a world leading position in cannabinoids and has developed an extensive international network of the most prominent scientists in the field. For further information, please

This news release may contain forward-looking statements that reflect GWs current expectations regarding future events, including development and regulatory clearance of the GW’s products.  Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties.  Actual events could differ materially from those projected herein and depend on a number of factors, including (inter alia), the success of the GW’s research strategies, the applicability of the discoveries made therein, the successful and timely completion of uncertainties related to the regulatory process, and the acceptance of Sativex®and other products by consumer and medical professionals.

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