Trevena lands $430M Forest deal, $60M venture round as heart drug heads to PhIIb

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With its lead drug poised to begin a Phase IIb study for acute heart failure, Trevena grabbed a $30 million investment from Forest Laboratories, which also picked up an option to snag global rights to the biotech's lead therapy with a deal that includes a $430 million potential payout. Forest will now step in to jointly oversee the next trial for TRV027 and Trevena banks a $60 million C series with the help of Forest and its existing venture syndicate.

King of Prussia, PA-based Trevena has been working with a GPCR biased ligand drug platform. Their lead therapy is an intravenous treatment for acute decompensated heart failure.  CEO Maxine Gowen tells FierceBiotech that she's not free to divulge all the details of the Forest deal, declining to say whether an upfront payment was included in the package. But she does have enough cash in the bank now for the Phase IIb, along with some backup work on three other projects and a partner in position to step in if the data points to Phase III.

"We've been talking to Forest now for a couple of years," says Gowen, which expressed some keen interest in acute heart failure. "We started to really turn up the volume on the conversation when we got our Phase IIa data toward the end of last year. At the same time, we were looking to raise new cash. As these two things were going along in parallel, we had a very good conversation, with both of us saying what we mean to do. Through that we came up with this structure."

New Enterprise Associates, Polaris Venture Partners, Alta Partners, Healthcare Ventures and Yasuda Economic Development Corporation all chipped in to this round and backed a $35 million round three years ago.

Trevena's platform technology has the potential to hit a variety of targets. And Gowen says that behind 027 there are three other programs, including another hospital-focused IV therapy for post-operative pain and a follow-on oral treatment. "Our ideal situation would be to partner that oral follow-on," says Gowen. "It's much more relevant to the primary care market."

Gowen's not exactly sure where the company will get its next package of funding, but with the market showing signs of warmth to biotechs, Trevena could go public--provided the market conditions stay favorable. 

"ADHF is the fourth leading cause of hospitalizations in the United States and there has been no material change in the standard of care for patients with ADHF for decades," said David Solomon, Forest's SVP of corporate development and strategic planning, in a statement. "TRV027 has the potential to be a significant new advance in the treatment of ADHF because it addresses the underlying pathophysiology of the disease which has been demonstrated in pre-clinical and early clinical work by Trevena."  

- here's the press release

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