Source: By Diane Alter, Contributing Writer, Money Morning April 23 2014
GW Pharmaceuticals PLC (Nasdaq: GWPH) stock is up more than 50% over the past two days thanks to a bullish and bold call from Morgan Stanley.
The investment firm on Tuesday issued an “Overweight” rating on the U.K.-based company, a leader in cannabis-based drugs, and set an aggressive $103 price target on shares, more than double Monday’s close.
Morgan Stanley’s optimistic rating and sky-high price target sent shares up a whopping 32.19% to $60.86 on Tuesday. Volume was extremely heavy, with some 6,752,000 shares changing hands – more than thirteen times the stock’s three-month average daily volume of 515,831.
Also stoking GWPH stock Tuesday were comments from CNBC’s Jim Cramer.
“Shocked” by Morgan Stanley’s daring call, Cramer said it was nonetheless a “timely” recommendation given the current marijuana stock craze. Cramer added the stock will quickly reach Morgan Stanley’s target price and said GW is the top play in today’s current marijuana stock obsession.
GW’s strong stock momentum carried through to Wednesday, with shares rising more than 20% to $73.33 intraday. By mid-day more than 3 million shares had traded.
Adding fuel to GW’s colossal gains Wednesday were bullish options activity and potential takeover chatter.
But, more on Morgan Stanley’s call…
GW’s (Nasdaq: GWPH) Promising Drug Pipeline
Morgan Stanley sees potential in GW’s unique product pipeline and its “novel platform.” The firm is particularly keen on GW’s epilepsy drug Epidiolex, which has shown notable promise in a small yet growing set of data.
Epidiolex could generate worldwide sales of $1.35 billion and will make up 90% of GW’s peak revenue, according to Morgan Stanley.
Additionally, U.S. sales of GW’s Sativex, a treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) spasticity and cancer pain, should also grow substantially, the firm predicted. “GW has multiple additional drugs in early stage development… that are not currently part of our valuation, but could be upside drivers over time,” Morgan Stanley wrote in Tuesday’s note to clients.
Other drugs in development include therapies for ulcerative colitis, schizophrenia, type 2 diabetes, and glioma (tumors that start in the brain or spine).
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