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Why GW Pharmaceuticals PLC Stock Surged

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: GWPH  ) , a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on discovering and utilizing cannabinoid-based therapies to enact desired biologic effects, surged as much as 14% after receiving positive commentary and a big price hike from an analyst at Piper Jaffray.

So what: According to Piper Jaffray analyst Dr. Joshua Schimmer, GW's investigational epilepsy drug epidiolex, which is currently targeting Dravet syndrome, a rare type of epilepsy that affects children and young adults, appears to be on the right path to being a success. Describing epidiolex as having the right combination of safety and effectiveness, Schimmer boosted his company's price target on GW to $147 from $97, implying up to 53% upside based on Friday's closing price, and kept an "overweight" rating on the stock. In addition, Schimmer believes that Dravet syndrome is a stepping stone to other indications for epidiolex.

Now what: Since receiving an orphan drug designation for epidiolex in late February shares of GW have been on fire. The early data that we've received has indeed been suggestive of a nice balance of safety and efficacy which could lead to an approval for the treatment of Dravet syndrome. I would, however, continue to caution that we're talking about a company that's years upon years away from profitability, that'll have countless social obstacles to overcome with physicians for its use of cannabinoids from cannabis plants, and which is not guaranteed any additional indications for epidiolex as of yet. GW's valuation, at least to me, is looking frothier than ever and is certainly going to continue to keep me on the sidelines.

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Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 30, 2014, at 7:23 PM, Corsair3117 wrote:

    Geez, Sean, TWO articles slamming GWPH in 3 hours...You're not establishing a short position, are you? ,<g>

  • Report this Comment On June 30, 2014, at 9:25 PM, jbeach1978 wrote:

    Doctors currently prescribe medical cocaine, medical barbituates, and medical opiates...and you think there is going to be problem getting them to prescribe medical marijuana. WOW.

  • Report this Comment On July 01, 2014, at 12:26 AM, TMFUltraLong wrote:


    "Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article."

    Nope... the only stock I'm currently short is Tesla Motors.


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Sean Williams

A Fool since 2010, and a graduate from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Economics, Sean specializes in the healthcare sector and in investment planning topics. You'll usually find him writing about Obamacare, marijuana, developing drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices, Social Security, taxes, or any number of other macroeconomic issues.

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9/1/2015 3:59 PM
GWPH $103.31 Down -3.04 -2.86%
GW Pharmaceuticals… CAPS Rating: **