Versant Ventures Raising $250M Life sciences Fund But Mum on Details

There’s good news for early stage medical device and biotech companies.

California venture capital firm Versant Ventures is trying to raise $250 million, according to a regulatory filing. The news was first reported by

When contacted Ross Jaffe, a managing director at Versant and one of the seven Versant employees named on the filing, said that the firm wasn’t commenting on the fundraising.

Versant is among the shrinking pool of healthcare venture capital firms that are actively raising a new fund. As lifescience firms, especially medical device firms have been contending with an uncertain regulatory environment coupled with other headwinds such as pricing pressures, the device tax and the shift into a new paradigm under the Affordable Care Act, venture capitalists have been forced to hold on to their portfolio companies longer and longer before they see pay day.

That in turn has made it difficult for VC firms to go to their limited partners and ask for money to invest in new companies.

Versant has been an exception. Back in 2008, the company raised a fourth fund worth $495 million before the official start of the recession.

Some of the more notable exits the company has had with medical device firms in its portfolio in recent years include:

  • Ablation Frontiers, a catheter-based atrial fibrillation treatment firm was bought by Medtronic in 2009 for $225 million and additional milestone payments
  • Johnson & Johnson bought Acclarent, which offered a “balloon sinuplastly” for sinus surgery in 2010 for $785 million
  • Insulet Corp, which makes a disposable insulin pump, went public in 2007.
  • Cameron Health, which developed the S-ICD or subcutaneous with no leads in the heart, was bought by Boston Scientific for up to $300 million with a potential of $1.05 billion in milestone payments.

— By Arundhati Parmar, Senior Editor, MD+DI

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