The British biopharmaceutical company develops prescription drugs derived from cannabinoids, chemical substances found in marijuana.
For context, the S&P 500 index returned 3.2% in February.
We can attribute GW Pharmaceuticals stock's strong performance last month to the company's release on Feb. 26 of fourth-quarter results that were better than anticipated. Revenue soared 68% year over year to $6.7 million, well above the $5.35 million Wall Street was expecting. Net loss of $0.20 per share was flat with the year-ago period, though it handily beat the consensus estimate of $2.90.
"The big story for GW Pharmaceuticals in the fourth quarter was a great U.S. launch for cannabis-based drug Epidiolex," as my colleague Keith Speights wrote following the release. For the two months in Q4 that the drug was available in the U.S., sales tallied $4.7 million. Analysts were widely anticipating sales of about $3 million, according to Keith. Momentum into 2019 is strong, with filled prescriptions in January increasing about 150% over December, GW said in the earnings release.
Epidiolex launched in this country on Nov. 1 after receiving approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June to treat patients with two rare forms of epilepsy. It's the first drug derived from the cannabis plant that's received the green light from the FDA.
Shares of GW Pharmaceuticals jumped 13.8% on Feb. 27 following the company's release of Q4 results the day before.
For 2019, GW Pharmaceuticals stock is now up a whopping 82%.
As I've previously written, "GW stock's direction for the next couple years will likely highly depend upon how well Epidiolex is selling, so this is the key thing investors should focus on in fiscal 2019. Pipeline progress is also important."