Heart drug developer Trevena jumps into biotech IPO game with $86M pitch

Trevena is rolling out the latest in a long lineup of biotech IPOs, outlining plans to raise $86 million to back its work on a late-stage drug for acute heart failure.

The King of Prussia, PA-based biotech says it was the first developer to get into the clinic with a GPCR biased ligand, a program which was inspired in part by scientific founder and Nobel Prize winner Robert Lefkowitz. Alta Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Polaris Venture Partners and HealthCare Ventures, as well as Forest Laboratories have all invested in the company, which has burned through more than $67 million dollars in the past 6 years to get to this stage.

With its lead drug poised to begin a Phase IIb study for acute heart failure, Trevena grabbed a $30 million investment from Forest ($FRX) back in May, 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 stepped in to jointly oversee the next trial for TRV027 and Trevena banked a $60 million C series with the help of Forest and its existing venture syndicate.

At the time, Trevena CEO Maxine Gowen wasn't able to tell FierceBiotech about all the details involved in the deal with Forest. According to the S-1, though, Forest signed off on a deal that includes a $65 million upfront if it decides to pick up its option on the lead program.

Trevena's success with its IPO will depend heavily on expectations related to TRV027. In a Phase IIa study investigators say they tracked evidence of reduced blood pressure and preserved renal, or kidney, function, while preserving cardiac performance in patients. The Phase IIb study is expected to get started in Q1 2014 with data due to arrive in the second half of 2015

Trevena is planning to list on Nasdaq under the symbol "TRVN." So far this year, there have been 38 biotech IPOs completed, with at least 9 more waiting in the wings. MacroGenics, a 2013 Fierce 15 company, is expected to complete its IPO this week.

- here's the S-1
- read the press release

Special Reports: Foundation Medicine, Ophthotech go gangbusters in 2013 biotech IPO revival | Top 10 Women in Biotech - Maxine Gowen