Jazz Pharmaceuticals, which has become the world’s largest exporter of medical cannabis products since it bought GW Pharmaceuticals for $7.2bn last year, raised its revenue guidance for the full year this week in its Q3 financial results.
Despite this, the pharmaceutical giant said that it planned to abandon trials to have its flagship cannabis compound Sativex approved in the US.
In July, BusinessCann reported that the company’s nabiximols oromucosal spray, which trades as Sativex, had failed a phase 3 trial exploring the effectiveness of the drug at treating ‘spasticity in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS)’ in the US.
At the time, the company said it ‘remained committed’ to the trial, which hoped to see the US become the 30th country in which Sativex was approved for the treatment of adult patients.
Rob Iannone, Jazz Pharma’s Global Head of Research and Development, told investors this week: “We’ve completed our analysis of the nabiximols MSS1 trial. We have assessed the nabiximols program’s potential to support regulatory approval for multiple sclerosis related to spasticity in the US as well as in the context of our broader pipeline opportunities. We have made the decision to discontinue the program.
“There is no impact to patients currently enrolled in the trial, and they will complete the study per the clinical trial profile. On behalf of my colleagues at Jazz, I want to extend our gratitude to the investigators, clinical sites, patients, and their families who participated in the recent nabiximols trials.”
He added that the company would ‘continue to support the availability of Sativex in 29 markets outside of the US’ so that it remains available to patients.
Sales of Sativex over the quarter nearly halved year-on-year, dropping from $6.1m to $3.2m. In the nine months to September 30 however, year-on-year sales grew from $8m to $12.1m.
Meanwhile, its other key cannabis compound Epidiolex performed well, seeing sales grow from $160.3m to $196.2m, ‘driven by underlying demand’.
Mr Iannone added that over the period, Jazz Pharma had completed the pricing and reimbursement process for Epidiolex in France, ‘paving the way for commercial launch in this key European market’.
For the three months to September 30 2022, Jazz Pharma said its revenues increased by 12% to $940m compared to the same period a year earlier.
In light of this growth, Jazz Pharma said it was raising the ‘midpoint of our full year revenue guidance’ up from $3.6bn in August to $3.65bn.
This equated to a GAAP net loss of $19.6m, or a loss of $0.31 per diluted share, down significantly from a loss of $52.8m a year earlier, or $0.86 per diluted share.
IM Cannabis (IMC) saw its stock drop over 15% this week after announcing plans to exit ‘the Canadian cannabis market’ and instead focus its resources on opportunities in ‘Israel, Germany and Europe’.
The announcement came just a week ahead of the release of IMC’s Q3 2022 financial results, due to be published on Monday November 14, and is thought to be a key development in its ongoing restructure to try and stem its cash burn.
In its previous quarter the global cannabis company said that while it managed to slightly reduce its EBITDA losses from C$5.7m to C$4.6m, its net losses skyrocketed 278% to C$18.98m compared with the same period a year earlier.
According to IMC, this move will create a ‘leaner organisation’ required to reach its goal of ‘achieving profitability in 2023’.
This will see IMC relinquish control of its wholly-owned subsidiary Trichome Financial Corp, a speciality finance company offering capital products to the Canadian cannabis industry.
Trichome is now understood to have received creditor protection under the Canadian Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCCAA), which will afford the company the ‘stability and flexibility required’ until a sale or restructuring transaction can be completed.
IMC’s CEO Oren Shuster said: “Our announcement today is a crucial part of our ongoing strategic refocusing plan to concentrate our efforts on the highest value markets and accelerate our path to profitability.
“By exiting the Canadian Cannabis market, we are seeking to maximise efficiency and create the right balance for future success. We are further strengthening our Israeli operations and preparing to bring our expertise to Europe to achieve market leadership in the medical cannabis market and to be fully ready to capitalise on the recreational market upon legalisation.”
Israeli cannabis operator Panaxia also saw its share price fall this week amid news that its Chief Financial Officer Sigal Ben Ali was due to depart the company after less than a year on the job.
According to The Israeli Cannabis Magazine, confusion remains around whether the CFO was fired or chose to step down.
The publication suggests that there are conflicting statements released from the company regarding the departure, but pointed out that regardless of the reasons why, Ms Ben Ali oversaw the loss of ‘tens of millions of shekels (ILA)’ including the loss of ‘about ILA 16.6m in the first half of 2020 alone’.
Since last week, Panaxia’s shares have dropped by around 10% to historic lows of ILA 0.312, down from ILA 1.01 at the start of the year.