Dova to Merge with Swedish Company

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Durham-based Dova Pharmaceuticals plans to merge with a Swedish biopharmaceutical company in a deal that could be worth up to $915 million to Dova’s shareholders.

Under the terms of the agreement, an indirect subsidiary of Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB, also known as Sobi, will buy all outstanding shares of Dova’s stock with an up-front cash payment of $27.50 per share.

Dova shareholders will also get an additional $1.50 per share in cash if the company’s leading product, Doptelet, gains additional regulatory approvals. Doptelet is a treatment for chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia, or low blood platelet counts, which can cause bleeding.

The value of the total shares would be up to $915 million.

“We are extremely pleased to announce this merger with Sobi, which we believe will continue the expansion of Doptelet in the U.S. and provide the necessary resources to maximize Doptelet’s availability to patients in both the U.S. and internationally,” said David Zaccardelli, PharmD, president and chief executive officer of Dova.

The proposed transaction would enhance Sobi’s position in hematology and orphan diseases, expand its presence in the United States and maximize the availability and commercial potential of Doptelet globally, according to the company.

“The cadence of upcoming launches and approvals across indications and regions that Doptelet provides, enables us to further accelerate growth in our hematology franchise,” said Guido Oelkers, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Sobi. “There is a large unmet medical need within thrombocytopenia, and for us this is a great opportunity to be able to give patients access to new and improved treatments.”

Oelkers also said Dova’s 125-member Durham workforce would “greatly strengthen Sobi’s hematology infrastructure and broaden our value chain in the U.S.”

Dova representatives did not respond to an inquiry about how the merger might affect operations in Durham.

The transaction was unanimously approved by both companies’ board of directors and is expected to close by the end of the year.

Following completion of the merger, the common stock of Dova will no longer be listed for trading on the NASDAQ Global Select Market.

Dova is focused on acquiring, developing, and commercializing drug candidates for diseases where there is a high unmet need, with an initial focus on addressing thrombocytopenia.

Doptelet, the only commercial product in its pipeline, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June to treat adults with chronic immune thrombocytopenia who have had an insufficient response to a previous treatment. In May 2018 it was approved to treat thrombocytopenia in adults with chronic liver disease who are scheduled to undergo a medical or dental procedure.

Doptelet, taken orally, is a small-molecule thrombopoietin receptor agonist. It works by stimulating the production and differentiation of megakaryocytes, large bone marrow cells that transform into blood platelets. Platelets prevent bleeding by allowing blood to clot.

Sobi is an international biopharmaceutical company specializing in therapies for rare diseases in areas including hematology, immunology and specialty care. The company has about 1,300 employees worldwide and posted revenues of 9.1 billion Swedish krona, or about $921 million, in 2018. Sobi’s shares are traded on the Nasdaq Stockholm stock market.

Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer
Wed, 10/09/2019 - 13:00