GW Pharmaceuticals (LON:GWP) is shifting its chief executive to the US to spearhead the company’s overseas development of its cannabis-based drugs.
Justin Gover is moving to GW’s new base in Southern California, where he will oversee the creation of a US business.
It has also appointed the former president of US drug group Allergan’s North American pharmaceutical division, Julian Gangolli, as the president of its own operation in the region.
GW commercialised the world's first plant-derived cannabinoid prescription drug, Sativex, which is approved for treating spasticity due to multiple sclerosis in 27 countries outside the US.
It is also developing a childhood epilepsy drug called Epidiolex as well as treatments for pain associated with advanced cancer, glioma, type 2 diabetes and schizophrenia.
It will be hoping to benefit from the increasing liberalisation of cannabis laws in the US, where some states have authorised its use as a medication.
As president of the North American pharmaceutical division of Allergan from 2004 to April this year, Gangolli ran a 1,400-strong commercial operation with sales topping $3.8bn last year.
GW’s chairman Geoffrey Guy said: "As Epidiolex nears its final stages of clinical development and as GW prepares for future US launch, the time is right to start building our in-house US commercial infrastructure.
“Julian's experience at building and running a major US pharmaceutical business built on specialty products will be complemented by the re-location of Justin to the US with his intimate knowledge of GW, its products and pipeline. Together, they will spearhead GW's US growth."
GW is also expanding manufacturing and research & development operations in the UK, where it employs 325 staff, up from 190 two years ago. Shares in GW rose 7.5p or 1.3% to 603.5p at 14:47 in London.