GW Pharma shares slide 12% after company swings to loss during pandemic

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Shares of GW Pharmaceuticals PLC slumped 12% Friday, after the company swung to a loss in the second quarter, hurt by the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. The U.K. company is the only one to have U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for a cannabis-based drug, Epidiolex, a treatment for severe forms of childhood epilepsy. The company posted a loss of $8.8 million, or 2 cents a share, for the quarter, after income of $79.7 million in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose to $121.3 million from $72.0 million. “We were pleased with the strength of U.S. Epidiolex sales in the second quarter in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chief Executive Justin Gover said in a statement. Epidiolex sales came to $117.7 million. “Further, the recent approval and imminent launch of Epidiolex for the treatment of seizures associated with TSC provides a meaningful new opportunity to accelerate momentum through the second half of 2020 and beyond,” he said. Leerink analyst Marc Goodman said the numbers were “solid” coming in the midst of the pandemic, and in line with management’s guidance from its first-quarter conference call. “… we think GW executed through the volatility well, and thus we are surprised that the stock is down ~10% in the after market,” he wrote in a Thursday note to clients. Leerink rates the stock as outperform with a $190 stock price target. Shares have gained 11% in the year to date, as the S&P 500 has gained 3.6%. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.