Trevena files for IPO

Posted: October 13, 2013

Trevena Inc., a King of Prussia pharmaceutical start-up, is planning to join a biotech wave of initial public stock offerings and is following the social media giant Twitter Inc. in how it goes about it.

A 30-person outfit hoping to develop a medicine to better treat acute heart problems, Trevena filed paperwork Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission to start selling stock on an undetermined date. If the IPO goes through, the stock will be on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, and the ticker symbol will be "TRVN."

Large pharmaceutical companies are struggling to find new revenue, so they are turning to licensing deals or acquisitions of small companies that might have potentially profitable medicine. Besides licensing deals, small companies in search of immediate funding - and payoffs for early investors - are drawn to the public markets.

This year, 33 biotech companies have gone public, the most since 2000, according to data compiled by the National Venture Capital Association.

President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Start-ups Act in April 2012. Its provisions allow companies with less than $1 billion in revenue to provide fewer years of audited financial information and delay the release of information until 21 days before the stock begins trading.

Twitter followed that path in the filing of its S-1 prospectus on Sept. 12, and the information became public on Oct. 4.

Trevena, like every fledgling drug company testing its first drug, has no revenue and won't for years.

To pay the bills in the meantime, chief executive officer Maxine Gowen was able to strike a deal with Forest Laboratories. Forest will help Trevena develop and commercialize the heart medicine in exchange for $30 million up front and the possibility of $430 million if the drug meets certain milestones.



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