GW Pharmaceuticals plc enhances cannabinoid research activities, appoints Professor Roger Pertwee as Director of Pharmacology

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Mar 12, 2003

GW Pharmaceuticals plc, the company developing a portfolio of non-smoked cannabis-based prescription medicines, announces that Professor Roger Pertwee, Professor of Neuropharmacology at the University of Aberdeen, has joined GW's senior management team as Director of Pharmacology at GW.

Professor Pertwee is one of the world's leading cannabinoid scientists, having researched this area for over 30 years, and is the author of over 220 publications. He is a Past President of the International Cannabinoid Research Society and is frequently consulted about the therapeutic potential of cannabis and cannabinoids by parliamentary committees as well as leading medical organisations.

In his role at GW, Professor Pertwee will focus on pharmacology in support of the company's clinical trials programmes and novel research, including the investigation of new therapeutic areas.

The appointment marks the first step in the planned establishment by GW of a new research entity - the Cannabinoid Research Institute. The Institute will be a distinct division within the company and its activities will be directed by Dr Philip Robson, GW's Medical Director. The Institute will allow GW to expand its operations from clinical and pre-clinical work into fundamental cannabinoid research.

Professor Pertwee said, "The prospect of exploring the pharmacological actions of individual plant cannabinoids, separately and in combination, is exciting for both scientific and clinical reasons. The setting up of the Institute will greatly facilitate fundamental research into the pharmacology of plant cannabinoids and the exploitation of these constituents of cannabis as medicines."

"Bringing together a pharmaceutical company and academic scientists with a common interest in cannabinoid pharmacology in this way will be a highly effective combination, consisting as it will of three powerful elements: adequate funding, appropriate expertise and research that is focussed and of high-quality".

Dr Robson commented, "This is a most exciting time for GW. We welcome Professor Pertwee and look forward to working with him. We hope over time to involve other collaborators, so that scientists from inside and outside GW can conduct research into the mammalian cannabinoid system and potential therapeutic candidates for cannabis-based medicines."

Dr Geoffrey Guy, Executive Chairman of GW, commented, "It is our aim that GW should occupy the centre ground of cannabinoid science. We are therefore building a bridge between commercial enterprise and academia by establishing the Cannabinoid Research Institute. We are confident that this is the best way for GW to undertake fundamental science, and to investigate the future commercial opportunities which may arise with phytocannabinoids, which occur in plants, as well as synthetic cannabinoids and also endocannabinoids, which occur naturally within the human body."

- Ends -

Enquiries:  

GW Pharmaceuticals plc  
01980 557 000
Dr Geoffrey Guy, Executive Chairman  
Justin Gover, Managing Director  
Mark Rogerson, Press and PR  
07885 638810

Weber Shandwick Square Mile  
020 7950 2800
Kevin Smith/Graham Herring

Notes to Editors

Professor Roger Pertwee has held a Personal Chair in Neuropharmacology at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Aberdeen University since 1999. He is currently International Secretary of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, of which he is also a Past President, and was a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Working Party on Therapeutic Uses of Cannabinoids. He is also Co-chair of the International Union of Pharmacology (IUPHAR) Subcommittee on Cannabinoid Receptors.

He is frequently consulted about the therapeutic potential of cannabis and cannabinoids by, among others, the British Medical Association, the MRC, the Royal Society, and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. He represented the BMA at a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Multiple Sclerosis convened to answer questions about the BMA report 'Therapeutic Uses of Cannabis' of which he is a contributing author. He has also given evidence to the House of Commons Parliamentary and Scientific Committee and to the House of Lords Sub-Committee on Cannabis.

A frequent broadcaster, he has written numerous papers and delivered many invited conference presentations on the pharmacology of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors. He is the editor of Cannabinoid Receptors, Academic Press, London (1995), and is currently editing a book on the Pharmacology of Cannabinoid Receptors for Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg (to be published in 2004).

GW Pharmaceuticals operates under licences issued by the UK Home Office to cultivate, possess and supply cannabis for medical research purposes. The company has over 90 staff and maintains close control over all aspects of the research and development process - cultivation, pharmaceutical development, production, clinical trials and regulatory affairs. Full details of GW and the company's clinical trials programme can be found at www.gwpharm.com

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