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GW Pharmaceuticals shares leap after reports it hired Morgan Stanley

Sativex is a cannibanoid medecine manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals.
BSIP | UIG | Getty Images
Sativex is a cannibanoid medecine manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals.

U.S.-listed shares of GW Pharmaceuticals surged more than 23 percent on Wednesday following a report the British company is working with an investment bank following other drug makers expressing interest in an acquisition.

GW hired Morgan Stanley to help handle the overtures, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The pharmaceutical company, however, is currently not interested in a sale and there is no guarantee a deal will happen, sources said.

Sources said the identity of potential buyers could not be established. The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential, Reuters said.

GW spokesman Stephen Schultz told CNBC the company does not comment on rumors or speculation. A spokesperson for Morgan Stanley did not immediately respond for CNBC's request for comment.

GW may be more appealing to larger drug companies due to its key cannabis-based Epilepsy drug, Epidiolex.

GW's U.S.-listed shares have gained more than 49 percent year-to-date including Wednesday's sharp upward move.

— Reuters contributed to this report.