- Swedish drugmaker Sobi plans on adding another marketed product to its arsenal before year's end, announcing Monday the acquisition of Dova Pharmaceuticals for up to $915 million.
- Dova's sole drug, Doptelet, holds two approvals in the U.S., with the most recent being for adults with chronic immune thrombocytopenia, or ITP, who didn't adequately respond to prior treatment. Doptelet competes against Amgen's Nplate, Novartis' Promacta and Rigel Pharmaceuticals' Tavalisse.
- The deal between Sobi and Dova, which the companies expect to close in the fourth quarter, would have Sobi paying $27.50 in cash for every Dova share. Dova investors may also receive $1.50 per share from a contingent value right tied to regulators approving Doptelet for chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia.
Rare disease is a broad category in drug development. For Sobi, navigating it has meant keeping a narrow focus; the company in June announced a restructuring aimed at prioritizing blood and immune disorder drugs that had advanced to later rounds of clinical testing.
Sobi's business development over the preceding year laid the groundwork for such a restructuring.
In November, the company agreed to a $1.5 billion cash and equity deal for rights to two AstraZeneca drugs. One of the drugs, Synagis (palivizumab), treats lower respiratory tract infections caused by a certain virus, and has been on the market for nearly 20 years. In 2018, AstraZeneca recorded $665 million in Synagis sales.
The other drug, MEDI8897, is a follow-on to Synagis that's currently in Phase 3 testing.
A few months before the AstraZeneca deal, Sobi acquired rights to empalumab from privately held drugmaker Novimmune.
Empalumab treats a rare inflammation disorder known as primary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis. By November, it had secured U.S. approval for that indication and the branded name Gamifant. Recently, the drug came under Sobi's full ownership.
The Dova acquisition brings another marketed drug to Sobi, though one that faces stiff competition.
Sales of Doptelet (avatrombopag) reached $3.5 million in the second quarter — which, according to investment bank Jefferies, was below the $5.6 million consensus estimates among Wall Street analysts. Jefferies analyst Eun Yang noted how, despite prescription increases, sales dipped 12% quarter over quarter because of competitive pricing pressure and payer restrictions.
Even so, Sobi's CEO Guido Oelkers said Doptelet should help his company's hematology business grow.
Sobi's bid of $27.50 per share reflects a 36% premium to Dova's closing price on Sept. 27 and a 59% premium to its 30-day volume weighted average price.
Both companies' boards of directors have unanimously approved the deal, according to a Sept. 30 statement.