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Sobi set to spend up to $915m to acquire Dova Pharmaceuticals

Hopes to boost haematology franchise with lead drug Doptelet


Dova Pharmaceuticals is set to be acquired by Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (Sobi) for up to $915m, dependent on the regulatory approval of its lead drug Doptelet in a new indication. 

Under the terms of the agreement, Sobi will offer a consideration of up to $29 per share to Dova stockholders, with an upfront consideration pf $27.50 per share and an additional $1.50 per share upon the approval of Doptelet (avatrombopag) for chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia (CIT).This amounts to a total potential consideration of up to $915m.

Doptelet is Dova’s first product to receive approval – it received the green light from the FDA last year as a treatment for low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia) in patients with chronic liver disease who have to undergo a medical procedure. This was then expanded to patients with chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), who have not benefitted from previous treatment.

The orally-active thrombopoietin receptor agonist (TRA) is delivered over a five-day course that prepares patients to have a medical or dental procedure five to eight days after. It was the first drug to be approved by the FDA in this indication. The results from the late-stage trial of Doptelet in CIT are expected to read out in the first half of 2020.

The drug is in the same class as Novartis’ big earner Promacta/Revolade (eltrombopag) which is used to treat low platelet levels caused by hepatitis C virus infection, as well as ITP and acquired severe aplastic anaemia.

However, Dova has dubbed Doptelet as a second-generation TRA, and says its has fewer liver-related side effects than its rival. The US biotech is continuing to target Revolade’s territory, and if approved in CIT it will encroach further onto its rival’s market share.

“The cadence of upcoming launches and approvals across indications and regions that Doptelet provides, enables us to further accelerate growth in our haematology franchise. 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,” said Guido Oelkers (pictured below), president and chief executive officer of Sobi.


Guido Oelkers

Sobi’s haematology franchise includes Elocta, a recombinant clotting factor VIII therapy for haemophilia A that offers an extended half-life, and Alprolix, a long-lasting recombinant factor IX Fc fusion protein for haemophilia B.

It also received approval for Gamifant (emapalumab) last November – an antibody which neutralises interferon gamma. It was cleared by the FDA for primary haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), an orphan disease characterised by widespread destruction of blood cells, extremely high iron levels in the blood, coagulation problems and excessive growth of organs.

The deal with Dova adds on significant opportunity for growth of Sobi’s haematology franchise, which will also help it to fend off competition from new drugs hitting the market, including Roche’s Hemlibra.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

1st October 2019

From: Sales



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