Trevena Scientific Co-Founder and Scientific Advisory Board Member Honored with 2009 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Trevena, Inc., a leader in the discovery of G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) biased ligands, announced today that Robert J. Lefkowitz, scientific co-founder of Trevena and a scientific advisory board member, has been selected to receive the 2009 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Biomedicine category. Dr. Lefkowitz was honored, in the words of the award jury, "for his discoveries of the seven transmembrane receptors (G protein-coupled receptors), the largest, most versatile and most therapeutically accessible receptor signaling system, and of the general mechanism of their regulation."

"We applaud Bob on this latest acknowledgement of his tremendous accomplishments and his continued dedication to GPCR research and discovery," said Maxine Gowen, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Trevena. "This international acknowledgement is another validation of Bob's continued innovation and, as Trevena's scientific co-founder, of Trevena's scientific approach to finding and characterizing GPCR biased ligands as the next generation of GPCR drugs."

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards seeks to recognize and encourage world-class research and artistic creation in eight categories: Basic Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics), Biomedicine, Ecology and Conservation Biology, Information and Communication Technologies, Economics, Finance and Management, Contemporary Music, Climate Change and Development Cooperation. The winners are chosen for the award by a two-part selection process consisting of a technical evaluation committee and prize juries made up of internationally renowned experts. The winners of this year's awards will be honored during a presentation ceremony that will held in Madrid during the month of June and the award brings with it a 400,000 euro prize.

Dr. Lefkowitz's research is groundbreaking because approximately 40% of modern medicinal products target GPCRs and GPCRs remain the largest class of targets currently under clinical evaluation. However, currently marketed GPCR drugs suffer significant problems such as limited efficacy and undesirable adverse effects, which often limit their overall use. Furthermore, there are many GPCRs linked to disease that cannot be translated into medicines because of specific target-related adverse effects. Trevena's novel drug discovery approach is based on Dr. Lefkowitz's work and is focused on discovering and developing a linked portfolio of GPCR ligands that are "biased" toward either activating or blocking specific signaling pathways mediated through individual GPCRs. Unlike traditional, broad GPCR approaches, the enhanced focus and specificity of these biased ligands for specific targets enables Trevena to engage only the desired signaling pathway and deliver optimal therapeutic effects - without many of the unwanted effects seen with less selective GPCR approaches.

Dr. Lefkowitz, who is currently James B. Duke professor of medicine and biochemistry at Duke University Medical Center and investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, was recently recognized with the National Medal of Science for his pioneering work understanding the GPCR system and its application in medical science. He has authored more than 850 research papers, which have been cited on over 95,000 occasions and led to the development of numerous drugs for a variety of conditions including neurology, cardiology and diabetes.

Following undergraduate and medical studies at Columbia University in New York, and Residency training in Internal Medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, Dr. Lefkowitz spent two years at the National Institutes of Health. After completing his clinical training in medicine and cardiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, he joined Duke in 1973, where he continues to teach in addition to conducting research. His research has focused on the molecular structure and regulatory mechanisms controlling the function of the seven transmembrane family of receptors.

About Trevena

Trevena, Inc. is a privately-held pharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) targeted medicines. Its unique linked portfolio combines a powerful and efficient drug discovery platform with extensive development experience to yield a rich pipeline of potential medicines. Trevena's proprietary Advanced Biased Ligand Explorer, or ABLE(TM), platform is a fully integrated collection of tools for identifying and characterizing biased GPCR ligands. The platform includes customized assays, proprietary software, animal models and unique biological signaling information across multiple GPCRs. The company's drug discovery technology is based on extensive research from the laboratories of leading scientists in the field - Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D. and Howard A. Rockman, M.D. of Duke University Medical Center. Trevena's pipeline is currently focused on programs for cardiovascular and CNS indications with significant unmet medical needs. Founded in 2008, Trevena is based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania and is backed by leading investors including Alta Partners, Healthcare Ventures, NEA, Polaris and Yasuda Economic Development Corporation. For more information about the company, please visit

    Source: Trevena, Inc.