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GW Pharmaceuticals Appoints New VP, Clinical Science

Tue, 05/06/2014 - 8:59am

GW Pharmaceuticals has announced the appointment of Kenneth Sommerville MD to the newly created position of VP, Clinical Science, based in the United States.

Dr. Sommerville will play an important role in the clinical development, medical affairs, and regulatory activities related to the company's epilepsy programs including the ongoing development of Epidiolex(R), GW's product candidate for Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes. He will also support the late stages of the completion of the investigational plan for Sativex(R) in cancer pain.

"We are delighted to announce this important appointment and welcome Ken's extensive industry experience and therapeutic expertise in support of our rapidly evolving programs in the United States," stated Justin Gover, GW's Chief Executive Officer. "We have received significant interest from physicians and parents regarding Epidiolex for childhood epilepsy and with the GW-sponsored pivotal trials expected to commence in the second half of this year, Ken will play a leading role in the clinical development of this important product in the U.S. His expertise and depth of knowledge in product development and regulatory matters will serve GW well as we seek to advance Epidiolex through clinical trials and, if successful, obtain FDA approval as rapidly as possible."

Dr. Sommerville is a board-certified neurologist and joins GW with a significant record of achievement including twenty-three years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. He has had senior roles at UCB/Schwarz Pharma where he led clinical and regulatory programs in epilepsy and other neurological product development initiatives including NDA submissions to FDA and EMEA for multiple compounds. Most recently, Dr. Sommerville served as Vice President of Clinical Sciences at Pfizer, Inc. where he was Global Clinical Lead for opioids and led a team of physicians and scientists in the development of abuse-deterrent opioids. He also has led teams in multiple medical and scientific areas including, but not limited to, indications of complex partial seizures, basic and rapid infusion of an intravenous anti-convulsant, painful diabetic neuropathy, migraine prophylaxis, Parkinson's disease, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, and schizophrenia. Dr. Sommerville has made major contributions to over twenty NDA submissions for both the FDA and EMEA and is recognized as an authority in drug development, especially anti-epileptic drugs, pain, and abuse-deterrent opioids.

"This is an exciting time to be joining GW, with a number of important products currently under development for patients in the United States including Sativex and Epidiolex. Specifically, I believe that Epidiolex has the potential to become an important new therapeutic option for children suffering with intractable epilepsy, an area of significant unmet need," said Dr. Sommerville. "I look forward to working with the GW team to develop new treatments from their proprietary cannabinoid platform."

Dr. Sommerville earned a M.D. degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Sommerville was in the private practice of neurology for 11 years prior to entering the pharmaceutical industry.

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