It’ s a new year and a new pot of money for Versant Ventures.
The firm introduced Tuesday that it had closed Versant Venture Capital VI, achieving its hard cap of $400 million — fifty dollars million more than was outlined in the initial SEC submitting.
Fund VI adds to the very healthy swimming pool of private investment dollars currently available to healthcare businesses. In a phone interview, Versant Managing Director Anthony Bolzon said the firm would continue to seek out higher potential therapeutic areas to maintain its strategic edge.
“ What makes us unique is our worldwide footprint, ” he said. “ Unlike most early-stage biotech investors who usually concentrate in one of the main hubs like Boston or the Bay Area, we are geographically wider, having a critical mass not only in the West Coast yet Europe, Canada and the Northeast. ”
Using a global reach, Versant aims to target high potential therapeutics areas, such as CRISPR, regenerative medicine, cancer vaccines, fibrosis and NASH. If the startups are there, that’ s excellent. If not, the firm will create them.
“ If you look at our portfolio, somewhere between one-third in order to one-half of our companies will be completely built right from academia, ” Bolzon said.
Some latest examples highlight that approach. In Dec. 2016, Versant teamed up with Bayer to seed a $225 million stem cell startup, BlueRock Therapeutics. It was an abnormally large Series A, Bolzon noted, but it reflects the particular firm’ s belief in the potential of regenerative medication and the scientific talent located outside the major U. Ersus. centers. BlueRock has a significant scientific presence in North america.
Versant also has three biotech discovery motors: Blueline Bioscience in Toronto, Highline Therapeutics in Nyc, and Inception Sciences in San Diego, Vancouver, and Montreal, which accelerate the startup process.
“ Right now our discovery engine network is growing, ” Bolzon said. “ We have 80 scientists which are exclusively working on translating academic science into potential online companies for the firm. ”
When it comes to identifying which fields are hot, Versant looks to Big Pharma and tries to understand what its pipelines may demand within the coming years. The investment aim is not simply to BÖRSEGANG (ÖSTERR.). Bolzon noted that around half of its fund 4 exits, which are now delivering, are coming through purchases.
“ We’ re trying to produce a portfolio that will succeed in any market, ” he mentioned.
Versant is covering its facets but it has also taken some risks, most notably as the single Series A investor for CRISPR Therapeutics. The startup’ s science is based on intellectual property currently under challenge in a high-profile patent infringement case.
“ When we invested, to tell you the truth, there were plenty of co-investors that were nervous and not wanting to come on board, ” Bolzon said. “ We were the sole buyer in the Series A. I’ m sure glad all of us were because we made a bet and then inside I think the next 12-18 months, we had two mega relates to Vertex and Bayer and were able to raise a $140 million Series B. ”
Since Tuesday, the 2013 startup had a market cap associated with over $900 million — though the patent litigation provides still not been settled.
Looking ahead to 2017, the new fund should enable 20-25 biotechnology investments within the U. S., Canada and Europe. According to the company online press release service, the firm will begin making investments from Versant Investment capital VI in the first quarter of 2017.
Photo: Versant Ventures