BELS Brief Chats #7 – Justin Gover

Justin Gover is the ex-CEO of GW Pharma—a great UK success story—known for treatments for epilepsy and the multiple sclerosis treatment product nabiximols which was the first natural cannabis plant derivative to gain market approval in any country. Justin shares his journey from studying politics at Bristol University to honing his skills at the global village that is INSEAD, the renowned graduate business school in Paris. He cut his teeth in life sciences by selling opiates in China. Back in the UK, he joined Ethical Holdings where he first met Geoffrey Guy and Brian Whittle, who envisioned creating a business for the medical use of cannabis. Thus GW Pharma was born. Justin was asked to join G(uy) and (W)hittle as CEO, and so began a 22-year journey. This visionary tale, helped along by the UK government, particularly the Home Office, culminated in 2021 with the acquisition of GW by Jazz Pharmaceuticals for $7.2B.  It is a great UK success story.  Justin notes the astonishing connections that exist in the life sciences between the UK and the US, exemplified in recent years as he relocated to run GW from San Diego which is awash with UK-educated talent.

“BELS encompasses a powerful set of voices that can feed into the UK life sciences.”