Sweden’s Sobi to Acquire Dova Pharmaceuticals in $915 Million Deal


Shares of North Carolina-based Dova Pharmaceuticals are up more than 38% in premarket trading after Sweden-based Sobi announced its intentions to acquire the company for $915 million.

Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi) said it will snap up all outstanding shares of Dova for $27.50 per share in cash. The offer was sweetened with the promise of a non-tradeable Contingent Value Right that entitles shareholders to an additional $1.50 per share in cash upon regulatory approval of Doptelet (avatrombopag) for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia. Doptelet is a second-generation, once-daily, oral TPO receptor agonist. Last year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Doptelet for the treatment of thrombocytopenia in adults with chronic liver disease scheduled to undergo a procedure. In June of this year, the FDA approved a supplemental New Drug Application that expands the use of Doptelet to include the treatment of thrombocytopenia in adults with chronic immune thrombocytopenia who have had an insufficient response to a previous treatment.

Dova’s 125 employees will remain with the company following the acquisition. The merger, which was unanimously supported by Dova’s board of directors, will be effected as soon as practicable after the closing of the tender offer. Following completion of the merger, the common stock of Dova will no longer be listed for trading on the Nasdaq exchange, the companies said this morning.

The acquisition of Dova is expected to enhance Sobi’s position as a leader in hematology and orphan diseases and, also expand the company’s presence in the United States. Sobi said it also intends to seek global approval and commercialization of Doptelet.

For Sobi, the acquisition of Dova comes three months after it acquired a subsidiary of Novimmune that owned emapalumab and related assets. That deal also granted the company a Priority Review Voucher, which it sold to AstraZeneca for $95 million.

Guido Oelkers, president and chief executive officer of Sobi, noted that the potential approval of Doptelet, as well as its previous approval, will enable the company to “further accelerate” growth in its hematology 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. Furthermore, we are excited to welcome the 125 professionals from Dova who will greatly strengthen Sobi’s hematology infrastructure and broaden our value chain in the U.S.,” Oelkers said.

David Zaccardelli, president and CEO of Dova, expressed his excitement in the deal with Sobi. He said the merger will not only continue the expansion of Doptelet in the United States, but also provide the necessary resources to “maximize Doptelet’s availability” to patients across the globe. He added that Sobi is “ideally positioned” to continue Dova’s mission of “providing novel and effective therapeutic options for patients with thrombocytopenia.”

Jefferies LLC is acting as lead financial advisor to Dova Pharmaceuticals and Evercore is serving as a financial advisor to Sobi. Cooley LLP is serving as legal advisor to Dova Pharmaceuticals.

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