Med tech VC Versant raising $250M new fund amid sluggish market

Life sciences investor Versant Ventures is piecing together a $250 million new fund, according to a filing, retooling as med tech fundraising continues its protracted slump.

The latest fund follows a $500 million haul Versant closed in 2008, and while the California-headquartered VC makes bets across the industry, its portfolio leans toward devices and diagnostics. Versant's high-profile beneficiaries include diabetes device heavyweight Insulet ($PODD) and retinal prosthesis maker Second Sight, and the group had a hand in bankrolling Glaukos and the soon-to-go-public Veracyte, two members of the 2013 Fierce 15.

Versant's latest raise comes as a dearth of exits and mounting regulatory uncertainty have put a damper on the med tech venture climate. Last quarter, despite a 12% spike in dollars raised, the number of deals dropped 8%, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, and investments remain far removed from their predownturn rate.

However, many of the industry's largest investors remain convinced that there's plenty of innovation out there worth funding, and Versant isn't the only shop putting together a new fund. Startup-focused 5AM Ventures is raising cash for a new $240 million purse, and VC giant OrbiMed is gathering up $300 million with an eye on Asian companies. So far this year, venture stalwarts Third Rock, Atlas and Frazier Healthcare have debuted new life science-directed funds totaling more than $1 billion.

- read the SEC filing

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