Versant Ventures expands into Canada; establishes new venture capital
office in Vancouver
VANCOUVER, Dec. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - Versant Ventures, a U.S.-based life
sciences venture capital firm, is building a presence in British
Columbia so it can invest in early-stage drug discovery companies and
accelerate the development and commercialization of scientific research
in the province. Versant established an office in Vancouver this year
and created a company that has joined forces with Bayer Healthcare to
develop innovative therapeutics for retinal eye disease. Versant has
committed a $10 million Series A to a new company called Inception 4
that will be managed by the Vancouver-based biotech team.
"We are investing in B.C. to develop early-stage companies because we
know there is exceptional research talent and leading academic research
in the province," said Brad Bolzon PhD., managing director of Versant
Ventures. "Our firm has a strong track record of investing in
early-stage research as well as partnering with global
biopharmaceutical companies to develop new medicines. We want to
accelerate these types of discovery programs in B.C."
British Columbia Minister of International Trade Teresa Wat, who
oversees the Province's venture capital programs and the B.C.
Renaissance Capital Fund, said she supports Versant's focus on
accelerating the development and commercialization of scientific
research in B.C.
"British Columbia provides excellent opportunities for early-stage
private capital to invest in world-class scientific and research
teams," Minister Wat said. "We are very pleased that Versant has
recognized British Columbia's competitive advantages and established
operations in Vancouver."
Versant has more than $1.6 billion in assets under management in life
sciences. Versant's investment model has led to a number of notable
successes in the US and the EU, and the firm now wants to replicate
that in Canada. A good example of Versant's success includes the
formation of Amira, launched in 2005 in San Diego, which was later sold
to Bristol Myers Squibb in 2011. Key members of the Amira team then
went on to found Inception Sciences. Since 2005, these initiatives in
San Diego have generated six pharmaceutical companies and generated
almost 100 jobs in the San Diego area. More than $90 million in venture
capital has been committed across multiple drug discovery programs
generated through Amira and Inception Sciences.
Versant recently formed a biotechnology incubator in Toronto, called
Blueline Bioscience, which is collaborating with Celgene and aims to
launch new companies in areas such as oncology and inflammation.
Blueline Bioscience is headquartered in the MaRS Discovery District of
"Versant has a unique model for investing in and launching early-stage
companies and we see ourselves being very active in the Canadian
biotechnology sector going forward," said Jerel Davis, PhD., principal
with Versant Ventures who manages Canadian operations for the firm. "We
have established ourselves in Vancouver, have already launched a new
company in this market, and have created Blueline Bioscience in
Toronto. Versant also looks forward to expanding our operations into
the Quebec market in 2014."
About Versant Ventures
Versant Ventures is a leading venture capital firm that invests in
innovative, groundbreaking bio-pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and
other life science opportunities. Founded in 1999, the firm consists of
an experienced team committed to helping entrepreneurs build successful
companies that impact healthcare and improve quality of life.
SOURCE: Versant Ventures
For further information:
Jerel Davis, Principal
David Climie, VP Comm.