Versant Ventures unveiled a pair of new funds—a $600 million global biotech fund, its seventh, and a $100 million companion fund that will focus on startups in Canada. The new funds, dubbed Versant Venture Capital VII and Versant Voyageurs I, come nearly two years after the VC firm reeled in a $400 million fund to invest in 20 to 25 biotechs.
Both funds were oversubscribed, Versant said in a statement, with support from existing investors and “a select number of new top-tier limited partners.”
“Our increased fund size will allow us to more aggressively capitalize early startups while maintaining our characteristic discipline to seek out the very best talent and technology available in today’s competitive biotech environment,” said Brad Bolzon, Ph.D., managing director and chair of the investment team at Versant, in the statement.
Like its previous fund, Versant’s Fund VII will be used to invest in 20 or more biotechs in the U.S., Canada and Europe. These startups will be “focused on translating breakthrough innovation into the next generation of therapeutics targeting the most important unmet medical needs,” Versant said in a statement.
The firm expects to create more than half of its portfolio companies for this fund, either by working directly with entrepreneurs or by deploying its discovery engine network that supports about 100 scientists in North America and Europe. This network started out with one site in San Diego in 2011, and Versant has been adding research sites in the U.S., Canada and Europe over the years.
“As a result of this expansion, we are better enabled to invest in breakthrough academic discoveries that can be translated into life-changing therapies for patients,” Bolzon said at the close of Versant’s Fund VI in January 2017.
As for the Versant Voyageurs I fund, it will invest in five to eight startups with Canadian operations.
“Canada provides us access to another geography with exceptionally strong academic science. Despite this top-tier scientific infrastructure, the venture and startup ecosystem has not grown at the same pace,” Bolzon said. “As a result, capturing the opportunity in Canada requires having the necessary capital to more fully develop foundational discoveries underlying newly launched biotech companies.”