Months after a mammoth raise, Ventyx Biosciences dips back into venture well
Several months after emerging from what CEO Raju Mohan called “quiet mode” with a mammoth $114 million raise, Ventyx Biosciences is now making its plans for the clinic loud and clear.
The California-based immune modulation player kicked the week off with a $51 million Series B, while also naming some key hires ahead of its big clinical push.
The CMO slot is going to Jörn Drappa, former CMO at Viela Bio before it was bought out by Horizon Therapeutics earlier this year. The AstraZeneca vet stayed on at Horizon for a while as executive VP of R&D before making the jump to Ventyx.
Sheila Gujrathi, the former Gossamer Bio CEO, is coming on board as Ventyx’s new executive chair. Gujrathi spent just over two years at Gossamer before leaving the helm on the heels of a hard failure for the company’s lead program. And Luisa Salter-Cid, CSO at Pioneering Medicines and former CSO of Gossamer, will chair the scientific advisory board.
“Sheila’s and Jörn’s depth of experience in developing immunology drugs and expertise in building and leading biotech companies will be invaluable as we advance our portfolio of clinical programs and continue to grow the company,” Mohan said in a statement.
Ventyx’s redesigned pipeline combines programs from three companies all founded by Mohan and New Science Ventures. The lead program is an S1P1 receptor modulator that’s already in Phase II for IBD, which the joint entity absorbed from Oppilan Pharma. The candidate was designed specifically for IBD, unlike other S1P1s repurposed from multiple sclerosis applications, and is designed to modulate the blood-brain barrier.
Right behind that is a Phase I TKY2 inhibitor for autoimmune diseases, which was plucked straight from the original Ventyx formed in 2019. Back in March, Mohan told Endpoints News that Ventyx plans to go after Crohn’s disease first, though the team also has aspirations in psoriasis, psoriatic athritis and lupus, to name a few.
A third candidate targeting the NLRP3 inflammasome is Phase I-ready according to Ventyx. The NLRP3 inflammasome, a key signaling protein complex in the innate immune system, received a big boost as an antibody target for cardiovascular and CNS diseases after Novartis released data in 2017, showing it reduced the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Is an IPO next for Ventyx? Mohan told Endpoints months ago that he could be open to a public debut in the future, whether it be through an IPO or reverse merger.
Surveyor Capital led the Series B round, with a hand from venBio Partners, Third Point, RTW Investments, LP, Janus Henderson Investors, Wellington Management, OrbiMed, Farallon Capital, Vivo Capital, Logos Capital, Qiming Venture Partners USA and Cormorant Asset Management.