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Stoking shares of the UK-based biopharmaceutical company, devoted to the development and commercialization of cannabinoid prescription medicines, was a successful presentation over the weekend at a key conference.
At the first biennial conference of the Dravet Syndrome Foundation, held June 26-29 in Chicago, Ill., guests were wowed by GWPH's presentation on of the efficacy of marijuana-derived cannabidiol treatments.
Special attention was placed on GW's late-stage, promising drug candidate Epidiolex. The drug is aimed at treating Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of childhood epilepsy.
Epidiolex was granted U.S. Food and Drug Administration fast-track status on June 6. FDA Fast Track designation means a drug under review (Epidiolex) targets serious medical conditions and fulfills an unmet and urgent medical need. Typically, trial drugs that have received Fast Track designation are generally granted greater access to the FDA for the purpose of accelerating the drug's development and FDA review. The designation also implies a much quicker drug approval process when the drug is given the nod from the FDA.
An urgent need indeed exists for Epidiolex.
It's not fully known how many people are affected with Dravet syndrome, as it is often misdiagnosed. Reports, however, suggest that 1 in 20,000 to 1 in 40,000 have the life-threatening form of epilepsy.
Some 3% to 8% of children who have their first seizure by 12 months old may have Dravet syndrome. Children with Dravet syndrome don't outgrow the condition. Current treatment options are extremely limited and prognosis for children suffering with the ailment is poor.
That's why the buzz surrounding GWPH's Epidiolex was a healthy dose of good news for many – including GWPH investors.
GWPH Stock Gets Upgrade
On the heels of the weekend conference, Piper Jaffray analyst Dr. Joshua Schimmer on Monday reiterated his "Overweight" rating on GWPH stock and hiked his price target from $97 to $147. That is 52.90% upside from the stock's previous close.
In a research note, Schimmer highlighted three reasons for the price boost: