Trevena Inc

Trevena Inc
Traded as NASDAQ: TRVN
Industry Biotechnology / Pharmaceutical
Headquarters King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, United States
Key people
Maxine Gowen (President and CEO), Michael Lark (CSO)

Trevena Inc is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, USA, and is involved in the discovery and development of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR) biased ligands. Trevena was founded with technology licensed from Duke University, which originated in the labs of company founders Robert Lefkowitz winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry [1] and Howard Rockman. Trevena's approach to drug discovery is based on utilizing ligand bias, or functional selectivity, at GPCR targets to produce drugs with improved efficacy and reduced side effect profiles.[2] In 2008, the company raised $25 Million in a Series A financing round led by Alta Partners, Polaris Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Healthcare Ventures, and Yasuda Economic Development Corporation.[3] Trevena was named one of the top 15 US startups of 2008 by Business Week.[4] The company raised an additional $35 million USD in a B round of venture financing in the summer of 2010.[5]

Trevena's lead program, TRV027 for acute heart failure, targets the angiotensin receptor utilizing beta-arrestin bias, an approach that has shown numerous beneficial cardiovascular and renal actions in preclinical species.[6][7] Trevena completed Phase I clinical trials in 2010.[8] Phase 2 clinical trials on TRV027 began in the spring of 2011.[9]

Trevena is also developing TRV130, a G protein-biased ligand [10] for the intravenous treatment of acute moderate-to-severe post-operative pain. The Phase I first-in-human clinical trial of TRV130 is complete. The drug was safe and generally well-tolerated in this study, with pharmacodynamic effects recapitulating its exciting preclinical profile. The next clinical study of TRV130 will investigate analgesic efficacy and tolerability, and will include intravenous morphine, a gold-standard post-operative analgesic, as a comparator.

Trevena’s expertise lies in engineering "biased ligands" that activate only the beneficial signaling pathways downstream of a GPCR to unlock new biology and avoid drug adverse effects.[11] In addition to TRV027, Trevena’s pipeline currently includes a clinical stage mu-opioid biased ligand for post-operative pain, and discovery-stage programs for chronic pain, and Parkinson’s disease.[12] In early 2009, Trevena entered into a collaborative agreement with Ligand Pharmaceuticals to identify biased ligands at numerous GPCRs from a large, diverse chemical library.[13] Later that year, Trevena received a competitively awarded American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Grand Opportunities Grant, spanning two years and funding $7.65 million USD of research.[14] The company has disclosed specific interests in the mu Opioid receptor and kappa Opioid receptor.[15] In 2011, Treveva received another NIH grant as part of the NIH Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network, potentially worth up to $10M USD, to support preclinical development of a delta opioid receptor biased ligand for major depressive disorder.[16] Trevena has received funding from the Michael J. Fox Foundation to explore the potential for delta opioid receptor biased ligands to treat Parkinson's disease.[17]


  1. "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2012". 2012-10-10.
  2. Violin, Jonathan D.; Lefkowitz, Robert J. (2007). "Β-Arrestin-biased ligands at seven-transmembrane receptors". Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. 28 (8): 416–22. doi:10.1016/ PMID 17644195.
  3. "Trevena Inc Announces $24 Million Series A Financing". 2008-03-05.
  4. "Most Successful U.S. Startups 2008.". Business Week. 2008-12-31.
  5. "Trevena lands $35M round to fund its first PhII". Fierce Biotech. 2010-07-14.
  6. Violin, JD; Dewire, SM; Yamashita, D; Rominger, DH; Nguyen, L; Schiller, K; Whalen, EJ; Gowen, M; Lark, MW (2010). "Selectively engaging β-arrestins at the angiotensin II type 1 receptor reduces blood pressure and increases cardiac performance". The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 335 (3): 572–9. doi:10.1124/jpet.110.173005. PMID 20801892.
  7. Boerrigter, G; Lark, MW; Whalen, EJ; Soergel, DG; Violin, JD; Burnett Jr, JC (2011). "Cardiorenal actions of TRV120027, a novel ß-arrestin-biased ligand at the angiotensin II type I receptor, in healthy and heart failure canines: A novel therapeutic strategy for acute heart failure". Circulation. Heart failure. 4 (6): 770–8. doi:10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.111.962571. PMID 21835984.
  8. "Trevena Initiates Clinical Development of TRV120027, a First-in-Class Biased Ligand". Pipeline Review. 2010-04-14.
  9. "Trevena Initiates Phase 2 Study of TRV120027 for Acute Heart Failure". Pennsylvania BioWatch. 2011-02-23.
  10. DeWire, SM; Yamashita, D; et al. (2013). "A G Protein-Biased Ligand at the μ-Opioid Receptor Is Potently Analgesic with Reduced Gastrointestinal and Respiratory Dysfunction Compared with Morphine". The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 344 (3): 708–17. doi:10.1124/jpet.112.201616. PMID 23300227.
  11. "Exploring GPCRs as Therapeutic Targets". Genetic Engineering News. 2013-04-15.
  12. "Trevena Inc - Pipeline". Trevena Inc - Company Website. 2010-01-01.
  13. "Trevena to Use Ligand's Library to Identify GPCR Therapeutics". Genetic Engineering News. 2009-02-06.
  14. "Trevena Awarded $7.65 Million NIH Grant to Accelerate Identification and Selection of Biased GPCR Ligands". Business Wire. 2009-11-03.
  15. "Refining GPCR Discovery Approaches". Genetic Engineering News. 2011-04-15.
  16. "Trevena Receives Major New Award from NIH To Develop Delta Opioid Biased Ligand Drug". Business Wire. 2011-08-18.
  17. "Pathway Validation of a Biased Delta Opioid Receptor Ligand for PD Symptoms & Side Effects Relief". Michael J. Fox Foundation. 2011-12-19.
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