One of GW Pharma’s cannabinoid drugs for epilepsy has suffered a set back in a Phase IIa trial as a placebo matched its capacity to reduce the frequency of focal seizures.
GW Pharma wants to use cannabinoid drugs to treat conditions like autism and epilepsy. However, one of its drug candidates, GWP42006, has slipped up in a Phase IIa trial, during which its capacity to reduce focal seizures in epileptic patients was matched by a placebo. In fact, the only area that the drug did beat the placebo was in terms of the frequency of side effects. GW Pharma puts this down to a ‘substantially greater’ placebo response than expected and are looking into the causes of this. In the meantime, its stock price has fallen by just over 5%.
While the company’s lead candidate, Epidolex, has built up plenty of data supporting its efficacy for the treatment of rare forms of epilepsy, GWP42006 has not enjoyed quite the same level of success. Its reduction of focal seizures by around 40% was similar to the rate achieved by a placebo, while the drug caused adverse events in an extra 25% of patients in comparison with the placebo arm.
However, GW will not give up on the candidate just yet as it has generated promising preclinical data for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders.
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