Wyeth's Ruffolo joins board of Trevena

A King of Prussia start-up drug discovery company called Trevena Inc. has added the retired president of R&D Wyeth Pharmaceuticals to its seven-member board of directors.

Robert R. Ruffolo Jr. joined the board of the privately held company after having been a member of its scientific advisory board only since January.

Little biotech often looks to land expertise from Big Pharma, and that's what Trevena has done. The board of Trevena, which raised $24 million in venture capital 13 months ago, had been composed of four of its venture investors, one Duke University representative, and its CEO, Maxine Gowen.

Trevena is working on treatments for cardiovascular and central nervous systems disorders. Its technology is licensed from Duke University Medical Center and based on research from the labs of Robert J. Lefkowitz and Howard A. Rockman.

In a statement, Ruffolo called the "science underway" at Trevena "tremendously exciting" and praised the management team as "first rate." He also said it was the first biotech board seat he's accepted since retiring from Wyeth less than a year ago.

Trevena currently has 21 employees, according to company spokesman Alastair Southwell.