More MS news articles for Jan 2002

GW to license block on medicine abuse

http://globalarchive.ft.com/globalarchive/article.html?id=020121001037&query=%22multiple+sclerosis%22

Jan 21, 2002
The Independent - United Kingdom;
BY STEPHEN FOLEY

GW PHARMACEUTICALS, the drugs group trialling painkillers made from cannabis, is close to a deal to license a novel technology it has developed to prevent abuse of prescription medicines.

The company is in talks over rights to the product, which GW is using to ensure that patients do not use its cannabis sprays to get high.

The under-the-tongue spray is fitted with a security device, where patients must insert a personal code to activate the drug. The device also monitors the dose taken and the frequency of uses.

Geoffrey Guy, the executive chairman, said the company had needed to develop some security technology to prevent its prototype medicines from being abused by patients or used by others not taking part in the trials.

"It is just like a credit card company monitoring your spending patterns to check for anything out of the ordinary," he said.

Mr Guy said he recognised the wider potential of the system for a range of controlled drugs and was looking at ways of exploiting the technology on behalf of shareholders. He confirmed he was in talks with other companies and said he hoped to have news of a deal in the next few months.

A licensing agreement could bring in useful cash as GW launches large- scale clinical trials to establish how effective its cannabis spray really is.

Early phase trials, details of which were released last week, suggest that the drug measurably reduces pain, muscle spasms and bladder problems in people suffering from multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury. By next year, some 500 patients, including many with terminal cancer, are expected to have tried GW's spray.

Mr Guy believes that, if the trials are successful, a prescription medicine will be on the market early in 2004, and the Government has promised to change the law to allow medical use.
 

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