Friday, April 05, 2013
Versant Ventures has been deepening its commitment to international expansion lately. The firm is replicating its San Diego-based discovery engine, Inception Sciences, in Vancouver, tightening its ties with the Canadian research community and spinning out new companies as its predecessor has been doing for almost two years. And with new partners in its Basel, Switzerland office, the firm expects to forge new deals in Europe -- especially in off-the-beaten-path areas -- while enjoying closer proximity to both academic scientists and European acquirers.
Operating principal Jerel Davis says the firm has had some presence in Europe dating back to 2008, when venture partner Thomas Woiwode established a beachhead. But new partners Guido Magni and Gianni Gromo, both former Roche colleagues of Versant partner Brad Bolzon, have arrived in recent months to flesh out the Basel office. The firm backed genetic vaccine start-up Okairos in September 2010, but more deals are expected soon. Stay tuned – the “Pink Sheet DAILY” expects to have full coverage of what’s on the way, and the next issue of START-UP will feature a deeper look at Versant’s international strategy.
The European office hopes to extend its reach throughout the continent and into Israel, while the Vancouver office will be in close touch with the Montreal research community while remaining “a short flight away from San Francisco and San Diego,” Davis says. He adds that the Canadian arm of Inception will likely spin out new companies in a fashion similar to Inception’s third project, which included an option for Roche to acquire it as it files an IND.