Canadian VC CTI unveils a $112M new biotech fund

CTI Life Sciences, a Montreal-headquartered biotech backer, has put together a $112 million new purse, scouting for promising startups in Canada and abroad.

The fund, CTI's second, comes on the heels of an $84 million debut in 2006. Over the ensuing years, the biotech put together a portfolio that includes antibody innovator Zymeworks, diagnostics outfit Xagenic and Enobia Pharma, a rare disease biotech acquired by Alexion Pharmaceuticals ($ALXN) in a $1.1 billion deal in 2011.

Now CTI is focused on finding a new generation of life sciences startups, focusing primarily on biotech but considering bets in medical technology and health IT. The firm expects to make about two-thirds of its investments in its native Québec and Canada at large, with the rest in the U.S.

CTI's latest fund comes on the heels of a slew of new deals for biotech VCs, a group riding high on a big year for M&A and the ongoing IPO boom.

CTI's Ken Pastor

"This is an exciting time to invest in life sciences", CTI General Partner Ken Pastor said in a statement. "We also have expanded our investment team and have benefited from fantastic support from our institutional investors, without which this new fund would not have been possible. We now stand to grow and continue delivering superior financial performance."

And the firm is not alone in recognizing the promise of Canadian innovation. Last month, stateside biotech VC Versant Ventures debuted a $305 million fund with a particular focus on the country, eyeing build-to-buy deals with pharma partners and leaning on Toronto-based incubator Blueline Bioscience.

- read the announcement