Versant Ventures amassing $200M fund for biotech upstarts

California VC Versant Ventures is putting together another $200 million fund, according to a regulatory filing, building up its chest as biotech investments maintain their sluggish pace.

Versant's latest raise follows a $500 million haul it closed in 2008, and, now eyeing its 5th fund, the company has made its name lining the pockets of early-stage firms across biotech, medical devices and diagnostics. This year alone, Versant played a part in Ocular Therapeutix's $24 million Series D, chipped in on Audentes Therapeutics' $30 million Series A and added $7.5 million to Novira Therapeutics' inaugural raise. On the med tech side, Versant had a hand in bankrolling Glaukos and the soon-to-go-public Veracyte, two members of the 2013 FierceMedicalDevices Fierce 15.

Meanwhile, despite a bright second quarter, the world of biotech venture funding remains middling at best, especially for early-stage companies. Last quarter, venture dollars dropped 39% from the previous period with first-time financings plummeting by 56%, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.

But while the biotech venture market remains tepid, many of the industry's stalwarts don't seem terribly spooked. Some of life sciences' largest investors remain convinced that there's plenty of innovation out there worth funding, and Versant isn't the only shop choosing now to reload. 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.

Special Report: The Top 15 Biotech VC firms - Versant Ventures | VC funding follows tepid pace in Q3 as first-time biotech rounds shrivel

- read the filing

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