SF VC Firm Versant Ventures Wraps Up $305 Million Healthcare Fund

Published: Dec 11, 2014

Pfizer Reveals Unique
December 11, 2014
By Riley McDermid, BioSpace.com Breaking News Sr. Editor

Well-known seed stage funding firm Versant Ventures is once again replenishing its coffers, on Thursday announcing it has raised more than its initial fund target of $250 million for Versant Venture Capital V L.P. and will close the round at $305 million.

The enormous amount of interest in the fund is yet another indicator that investors—and venture capitalists—are taking any chance they can to get in on the ground floor of what has been a white-hot market for biotech this year.

Versant V portfolio will buy stakes in business across the healthcare sector, with all stages of a company’s development represented. Versant most recently has been focused on the discovery and development of novel therapeutics, with many companies targeted partnering with Versant on a “build-to¬-buy” structured acquisitions with strategic partners at the outset.

“We are grateful for the support of our limited partners, who allow us to pursue our mission of helping exceptional entrepreneurs build the next generation of great healthcare companies,” said Brad Bolzon, a managing director at Versant. “It’s an exciting time to be launching Versant V, and we look forward to working with talented teams, co-investors, and industry partners to advance important therapies and technologies that have the potential to substantially impact the industry.”

Versant V is a bit of a hybrid for the firm, who is best known for shepherding companies through the exit or IPO process. Since its creation in 1999, nearly 40 Versant companies have achieved successful acquisitions or IPOs.

It’s a number that that Versant’s two “creation engines,” Inception Sciences and Blueline Bioscience, have helped boost, with seven companies and almost as many strategic partnerships created by the two over the last several years.

Over the last dozen years or so, Versant has raised $1.9 billion to invest in biopharmaceutical, medical device, and healthcare services/HCIT companies.

On Wednesday, Versant announced that Canadian incubator Blueline Bioscience has created its first spinout company, Northern Biologics, and will be hiring at least 20 people in the Toronto area by the end of 2015, the company said Wednesday.

Blueline created Northern with the money from $10 million Series A financing from Versant's newly closed Fund V received earlier this year. Blueline has also inked a research and development deal with biotech behemoth Celgene, which will provide additional capital in an undisclosed amount.

As part of the deal, Stefan Larson, entrepreneur-in-residence with Versant Ventures, will serve as the company's CEO, and Jeanne Magram, former site head for Pfizer's Center for Therapeutic Innovations in New York, will join as chief scientific officer.

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