Durham-based company files for IPO worth up to $75 million

Dova Pharmaceuticals Inc., a small pharmaceutical company headquartered in Durham, is attempting to raise as much as $74.8 million through an initial public offering, the company revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company, which was founded just last year, has applied to list its common stock on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the symbol “DOVA,” according to its S-1 filing submitted to the SEC on June 2.

Dova is focused on commercializing a drug to treat thrombocytopenia, a disorder characterized by low blood platelet counts which can affect the body’s ability to form blood clots. It currently has no drugs on the market.

The company does, however, have one promising drug candidate called avatrombopag, which it acquired from the Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai in March 2016. PBM Capital Group, a Charlottesville, Va.-based investment firm that acquired the drug and started Dova, owns 84.8 percent of the pre-IPO shares.

Dova said it has completed two phase three clinical trials for avatrombopag and plans to submit a new drug application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the third quarter of this year.

This would be the second IPO in the Durham area in 2017. In May, the Durham-based biotechnology company G1 Therapeutics raised $105 million in an IPO.

Dova plans to use the proceeds from the IPO to fund the drug’s commercialization and repay Eisai, which could receive as much as $135 million in payments if the drug reaches certain milestones.

The company has not revealed how many shares it plans to offer to the public or the price range of its shares – so the $75 million the company hopes to raise could change once the IPO is closed.

The company currently has four employees, according to its filing. The company said it relies on Eisai for research and development services.

Dova named Alex Sapir, a former marketing and sales executive for United Therapeutics, its chief executive officer in January. The company also described Sapir as a routine guest lecturer at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

The company’s chief financial officer, Douglas Blankenship, joined the startup in March after relocating to the Research Triangle area for a sabbatical from November 2015 to the beginning of this year. Blankenship was previously a finance director at Genentech, a biotechnology subsidiary of Roche Pharmaceuticals.

Dova posted a net loss of $27.2 million last year and has $26.6 million in cash or cash equivalents on hand as of March 31.

Dova listed the financial firms J.P. Morgan, Jefferies and Leerink Partners as the underwriters for the IPO.

Zachery Eanes: 919-419-6684, @zeanes