GW Pharmaceuticals plc and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd today announce a major long term strategic cannabis alliance. An exclusive licence and development agreement has been signed for Sativex® in the United Stated and the companies are in detailed discussions with a view to entering into a cannabinoid research collaboration in the field of Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders and cancer treatments to research, develop and commercialise a range of other early stage cannabinoid product opportunities.
The research collaboration agreement follows the signature in February 2007 of an exclusive license and development agreement between GW and Otsuka to develop and market Sativex®, GW's lead product, in the United States.
The cannabinoid research collaboration has an initial term of three years, during which Otsuka will make available a research fund of $9 million, which may be increased from time to time by Otsuka, to cover research activities carried out by GW and its scientific collaborators under this agreement.
The GW-Otsuka collaboration research team, which incorporates senior scientists from both companies, will evaluate a range of GW cannabinoids as drug candidates within the field of CNS and oncology, with a view to selecting the most promising candidates for full clinical development, regulatory approval and global commercialization. Products selected for full development will be the subject of a license from GW. Under the terms of each product license, Otsuka will fund the global development and commercialization of such products, and GW will receive license fees, milestone payments and a long term commercial supply price and royalty. The financial terms of each license are to be agreed at the time of selection of each product for global development.
Dr Geoffrey Guy, GW's Chairman, said, "Otsuka is a world leader in the field of CNS and we are delighted to be working with such a prestigious company to enhance and develop our product pipeline. The relationship between GW and Otsuka commenced earlier this year with the signature of the Sativex US license agreement, and this new research collaboration will serve to enhance further the close relationship between our two companies.
"Over the last few years, GW has been undertaking a primary cannabinoid research programme addressing a range of therapeutic areas under the direction of Professor Roger Pertwee and in collaboration with a number of other world leading cannabinoid scientists. This collaboration with Otsuka will enable GW to accelerate and expand this programme in order to develop and commercialise novel cannabinoid medicines in the exciting areas of CNS and oncology."
Mr. Tatsuo Higuchi, President of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. said, "Otsuka strives to contribute to the health of people around the world through the creation of innovative products in an effort to address unmet medical needs. We are delighted to be embarking on this great opportunity with GW Pharmaceuticals to further investigate cannabinoids, which are considered to be a significant potential source of new medicines in the field of CNS and oncology. At the same time, we anticipate that our further contribution to global well being will be significant as a result of this research collaboration."