Leerink starts Dova at MP

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Leerink initiated coverage of Dova Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:DOVA) with a “market perform” rating and a $24 price target. The stock closed at $22.75 on July 21.

Analyst Geoffrey Porges writes that his rating and valuation are based on revenue forecasts for Dova’s thrombopoietin receptor agonist, avatrombopag (AVA), in its first indication, pre-procedure bleeding prophylaxis in chronic liver disease (CLD) patients with thrombocytopenia.

“AVA is highly likely to be approved for this indication based on the two successful Phase 3 trials already completed, and the extensive development package from Dova’s partner, Eisai,” he said,

However, he said the potential of this indication is finite, given limited perceived risk associated with such procedures in all but the sickest CLD patients, and the imminent competition for AVA from Shionogi’s, lusutrombopag (LUS), which is completing an international Phase 3 program in an identical indication.

Mr. Porges said LUS is one of Shionogi’s flagship products for its expansion in the U.S. and Europe, and the company intends to file by year-end, putting their application less than six months behind Dova’s. LUS is already marketed in Japan.