Bayer HealthCare to invest up to USD 25 million in "Versant Venture Capital V" fund

Leverkusen, November 03, 2014 – Bayer HealthCare will invest up to USD 25 million as a strategic investor in Versant Ventures' newly formed "Versant Venture Capital V" fund to support the development of new therapies in areas of high unmet medical need. Versant Ventures is a global healthcare venture capital firm investing in biotech and medical device companies throughout the U.S., Europe, and Canada.

Bayer, along with other limited partners of the fund, will be a member of the advisory board to Versant's "Venture Capital V" fund, contributing its longstanding expertise in drug discovery and development. Versant's fund management team maintains full decision making rights as to investments in portfolio companies.

"Versant Ventures has an excellent track record promoting entrepreneurship in life sciences and healthcare, driven by a team of experts with a global reach," said Prof. Dr. Andreas Busch, Member of the Bayer HealthCare Executive Committee and Head of Global Drug Discovery. "Bayer's mission is science for a better life. Our commitment parallels Versant's vision to advance early medical innovation and patient care. We are looking forward to supporting promising early stage companies that are addressing disease areas of high unmet medical need."

"We are excited about Bayer's support for our latest fund and look forward to sharing our expertise in drug discovery and development," said Brad Bolzon, Managing Director at Versant Ventures. "We share similar goals of stimulating and promoting innovation in healthcare to eventually affect patient outcome."

Bayer and Versant Ventures have already joined forces in ophthalmology research. In November 2013, Bayer HealthCare announced an exclusive collaboration with Inception Sciences - a drug discovery incubator exclusively backed by Versant Ventures - to conduct early research in the area of retinal eye diseases. For this purpose, Versant Ventures established "Inception 4" – a company with the aim to develop innovative treatment options for patients suffering from eye diseases, such as wet age-related macular degeneration and geographic atrophy. Bayer holds an exclusive option to acquire "Inception 4" under certain undisclosed conditions.

About Versant Ventures
Versant Ventures is a leading venture capital firm that specializes in investments in game changing biopharmaceuticals, medical devices and other life science opportunities. Founded in 1999, the firm consists of an experienced team of managing directors committed to helping entrepreneurs build successful companies that impact healthcare and improve quality of life.

About Bayer HealthCare
The Bayer Group is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. Bayer HealthCare, a subgroup of Bayer AG with
annual sales of EUR 18.9 billion (2013), is one of the world's leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry and is based in Leverkusen, Germany. Bayer HealthCare combines the global activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Medical Care and Pharmaceuticals divisions. Bayer HealthCare's aim is to discover, develop, manufacture and market products that will improve human and animal health worldwide. Bayer HealthCare has a global workforce of 56,000 employees (Dec 31, 2013) and is represented in more than 100 countries. More information is available at