Shares in this Encinitas-based biotech jump 31 percent in first day of trading

A man wearing a mask passes the Charging Bull statue in New York's financial district.
A man wearing a mask passes the Charging Bull statue in New York’s financial district. Shares of Ventyx Biosciences of Encinitas had a good first day on the public markets. They opened at $16 per share and closed at $21.02 on the Nasdaq.

Encinitas-based Ventyx Biosciences joined the pack of newly minted San Diego public companies on Thursday, Oct. 21, raising nearly $152 million to pursue drugs for psoriasis, Crohn’s disease and other ailments.

The company sold nearly 9.5 million shares at $16 each — the midpoint of its projected price range. The stock had a good first day of trading, gaining 31 percent to close at $21.02 on the Nasdaq.

Ventyx is at least the 15th San Diego area startup to go public this calendar year. Many of these firms are in the life science sector and remain years away from having a drug ready to seek regulatory approval.

Still, life science remains a hot sector, with ample demand from specialty investors accustomed to the risk that comes with biotech’s history that a significant number of drug candidates eventually fail.

Ventyx, which employs 23 full-time workers, is focused on a handful of small-molecule treatments for patients living with inflammatory diseases and autoimmune disorders.

Chief Executive Raju Mohan worked with New Science Ventures to combine the therapeutic portfolios of Oppilan Pharma, Zomagen Biosciences and Ventyx under one umbrella and take the company public.

The company raised $165 million prior to the IPO from New Science Ventures, venBio Partners, Third Point and Surveyor Capital — a Citadel company.

Ventyx has therapeutics in early clinical trials for diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, psoriatic arthritis and lupus. It also has an in-trial candidate to treat ulcerative colitis.

Based on pre-clinical data, other therapies being pursued could eventually have utility against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and MS, according to the company’s prospectus.

Ventyx’s board of directors includes Executive Chair Sheila Gujrathi, former CEO of Gossamer Bio.

The company’s shares trade under the ticker symbol VTYX. Jefferies, Evercore ISI and Piper Sandler are acting as joint book-running managers for the offering. LifeSci Capital is also acting as an underwriter for the offering.