GW Pharmaceuticals plc (LSE:GWP) gained 12.50p (13%) to 108p on Monday after granting Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS; SIX:NOVN) exclusive rights to commercialize Sativex in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The territories exclude Japan, China, Hong Kong and Israel/Palestine. The sublingual cannabis extract spray containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) is approved in Canada, Spain, New Zealand and the U.K. to treat spasticity due to multiple sclerosis (MS). GW will receive $5 million up front and is eligible to receive $28.8 million in milestones, plus royalties. Bayer AG (Xetra:BAY) has rights to market Sativex in Canada and the U.K. from GW, while Almirall S.A. (Madrid:ALM) has rights in the rest of Europe. Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) has exclusive rights in the U.S. and Neopharm Ltd. (Petach-Tiqva, Israel) has rights in Israel/Palestine.
“At the end of the day MS is big market for the pharma companies.”