Ventyx nabs a $152M upsized IPO to challenge BMS' Zeposia—and a backer with intimate knowledge of its rival

Ventyx Biosciences is in the fast lane: Less than a year ago, the biotech emerged from stealth with big plans to dampen down some blockbuster autoimmune/inflammation targets. Then last month, it sprinted to Wall Street with the now standard $100 million IPO ticket.

In the end, $100 million wasn't in the cards; instead, this week Ventyx nabbed an upsized $152 million by offering 9.5 million shares at $16, within the range of $15 to $17, with 1.7 million more shares than anticipated. This will add to the $114 million series B round snagged earlier this year.

The centerpiece of Ventyx is its S1P1R modulator VTX002, which is heading into phase 2 in the coming months in ulcerative colitis (UC).

This puts Bristol Myers Squibb’s multiple sclerosis and UC drug Zeposia, also an S1P1R modulator, which was developed by Celgene via its Receptos buyout, squarely in Ventyx's crosshairs. Though clearly very behind in market terms, the biotech is hoping to gain the edge on safety, given Zeposia’s list of potential risks for liver damage and eye disorders.

RELATED: Ventyx Biosciences lines up $100M IPO with busy clinical schedule ahead

Ventyx has some great insider knowledge here via new executive chair Sheila Gujrathi, M.D., who led development of Receptos' Zeposia for MS and UC before moving to lead Gossamer Bio. She later left that company after weak trial results put her CEO position under pressure.

Other hopefuls include TX958, an oral, selective tyrosine kinase type 2 inhibitor that Ventyx believes has the potential to go after a big range of immune-mediated diseases including psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriatic arthritis and lupus.

Ventyx also has an NLRP3 inhibitor for systemic inflammatory diseases including cardiovascular, hepatic, renal and rheumatologic conditions.

The biotech plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol "VTYX."