Ventyx sprints to Wall Street less than a year after emerging from stealth
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It took seven months from exiting “quiet mode” for Ventyx Biosciences to land its very own stock ticker, raising $165 million in venture funds along the way.
Now, after pricing a massive $151.5 million IPO, the Encinitas, CA-based biotech is gunning for Phase II.
Ventyx priced close to 9.5 million shares at $16 apiece on Wednesday, the midpoint of its $15 to $17 range. CEO Raju Mohan filed the S-1 papers at the end of September, just over a week after unveiling a $114 million Series B round. He penciled in the standard figure of $100 million at first, likely knowing that in the last year, it’s been common for biotechs to raise much more than those initial estimates.
Mohan also tapped a familiar face to chair the company’s board of directors last month: Sheila Gujrathi, who has been quietly supporting Ventyx all along. The former Gossamer Bio CEO made a small investment in Ventyx’s Series A, which took place between February and June 2021, according to SEC papers.
Now the company will look to challenge Zeposia, one of the top drugs Gujrathi developed while at Receptos. Ventyx is hoping its S1P1R modulator VTX002 will prove to be a better option in ulcerative colitis, particularly avoiding some of Zeposia’s warnings around liver injury and macular edema screening. That candidate’s headed for Phase II by the end of the year, according to the S-1, and Ventyx will use between $45 million and $55 million of the IPO funds to get it done.
Also headed for Phase II is Ventyx’s oral TYK2 inhibitor VTX958 — the company’s lead program, despite the fact that it appears to be slightly behind VTX002 on the development timeline. It’s designed to target autoimmune diseases, with psoriasis being the first target. Roughly $75 million to $85 million of the IPO funds are tagged to bring the candidate through Phase II in that indication.
The redesigned pipeline combines programs from three companies all founded by Mohan and New Science Ventures. VTX958 was plucked straight from the original Ventyx formed in 2019.
A third candidate targeting the NLRP3 inflammasome will enter the clinic by the end of the year, the S-1 states. The NLRP3 inflammasome is a key signaling protein complex in the innate immune system, and Ventyx thinks inhibiting it could treat a range of systemic inflammatory conditions, such as cardiovascular, hepatic, renal and rheumatologic diseases.
The idea received a big boost back in 2017, when Novartis published data showing that inhibiting IL-1ß, a cytokine released by NLRP3, reduced the risk of heart disease and stroke.
When all is said and done, Mohan will hold just over 4% of shares, while New Science Ventures will have a 37.73% stake. venBio Partners, which participated in the Series B round, takes a 9.98% piece of the cake.
Ventyx will list under the ticker $VTYX.