Wharton EMBA Alumna Rings NASDAQ Bell in Celebration of IPO

When we last blogged about Wharton EMBA alumna Maxine Gowen, WG’02, she had recently launched Trevena, Inc., a privately-held pharmaceutical company located in King of Prussia, PA. On Jan. 31, 2014, Trevena celebrated its IPO on the NASDAQ Stock Market. To mark the occasion, Maxine, president and CEO, rang the opening bell. We caught up with her to talk about Trevena’s growth and the NASDAQ event. Here’s what she said:

Since launching the company in 2008, we’ve been focusing on developing new medicines for very serious conditions. We now have three drug candidates in clinical trials. We have two drugs focused on treating moderate to severe pain. Our third drug is for acute heart failure, which is a serious disease with a prognosis similar to lung cancer. Two of the drugs are in middle-stage clinical trials and the other is in early-stage clinical trials.

We’re still in King of Prussia, PA in the same facility that we built in 2008. However, we recently began our first expansion into the adjoining space and we’ve grown to 32 employees.

The IPO was probably the most intense process I’ve been through in my professional life. There were two parts to it. The first part involved detailed drafting of the regulatory documents and setting up the corporate processes necessary to become a public company. The second part was an intense period of talking to investors. It was an incredibly busy few months.

The IPO was launched on Jan. 31 and we raised approximately $65 million, which will be used largely to progress the clinical trials of our three drugs, plus an additional program that is coming along behind those.

It was a lot of fun to ring the bell at NASDAQ. I took all of the employees with me along with some spouses who had been most neglected during the IPO process. It was a great way to celebrate this milestone. We enjoyed seeing our photos several stories high on the NASDAQ tower in Times Square.

I’m really proud of the amazing group of people we have at Trevena and how much we’ve accomplished in a short period of time in the world of drug discovery and development. We really have done an amazing amount in just six years in terms of bringing forward three drug candidates into clinical development. That is an unusual accomplishment.

My Wharton education has made a huge impact in my ability to successfully launch this company. It would never have occurred to me to think about founding a company if I hadn’t been through that fantastic experience. Wharton gave me a better understanding of how business works and how the career I had built to that point could be broadened out. That knowledge gave me the confidence to become an entrepreneur.

Since graduation, I’ve made a point to stay connected to Wharton. I’ve been lucky to serve as a judge in Wharton’s Business Plan Competition and I worked on the organizing committee for my 10-year reunion. I like to stay involved because it strengthens my connections to all of these amazing people both at the school and in the alumni community. There is such a wealth of experience and talent represented by those groups.

To read Maxine’s last blog, click here.

Maxine Gowen, WG'02, founder of Trevena, Inc.