Teralys, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, BDC invest in Versant Ventures

Canadian technology-focused fund-of-funds manager Teralys Capital has partnered with the Fonds de solidarité des travailleurs du Québec FTQ and BDC Venture Capital in backing U.S. life sciences venture capital firm Versant Ventures. Teralys committed $25 million to Versant, making its fifth investment in life sciences, an integral part of Teralys’ and its partners’ strategy to bolster the market ecosystem in Québec and across Canada. The three investor groups also plan to work with the firm on its recently launched drug discovery incubator Inception Sciences, located in Montréal. Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund also announced a $10 million commitment to Versant.


Teralys Capital supports launch of Inception Sciences in Quebec in collaboration with the Fonds de solidarité FTQ and BDC Venture Capital

SAN DIEGO, June 24, 2014 /CNW/ – Teralys Capital, along with co-investors Fonds de solidarité FTQ and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), announced today that they are proud to invest in and be working with Versant Ventures on the expansion of the successful Inception Sciences incubator to Montréal. Teralys maintains its leadership role in structuring Quebec’s life sciences ecosystem while strengthening its international position in this critical sector.

Inception Sciences is a specialized biopharma incubator backed by Versant Ventures that discovers and develops new drugs. Inception Sciences spins out new companies in partnership with large biopharmaceutical companies, which not only provide funding but also provide the companies a path to exit through pre-negotiated acquisitions.

Inception Sciences is designed as a self-sustaining company that will allow scientists to continue to work together beyond the end of development activities on a specific drug. The incubator plans to hire drug developers in its new physical drug discovery laboratory in Montreal.

“I am excited to help build Inception Sciences in Montreal and to work again with top Canadian academic institutions and researchers,” said Peppi Prasit, co-founder and CEO of Inception Sciences. “For more than 15 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside the Merck Frosst team in Montreal. Since that time, I’ve had the chance to co-found Amira Pharmaceuticals (later sold to Bristol-Myers Squibb), and co-found Inception Sciences in San Diego in California and Inception Sciences in Vancouver.”

Versant Ventures is a global life sciences focused venture capital firm that invests in biopharmaceutical products and medical devices. Versant Ventures manages more than $1.6 billion and has invested in over 75 companies to date in North America and Europe. Versant’s current or past portfolio companies have transformed medicine in the fields of ophthalmology, cardiovascular disease, fibrosis, inflammation, oncology and vaccines, among others. Teralys Capital has committed $25 million to Versant.

“The strong combination of academic research and drug discovery talent in Quebec made Montreal an ideal choice for Versant to establish a presence and invest in promising biotech discoveries,” said Brad Bolzon PhD., managing director of Versant Ventures. “We are also pleased to be working with major players like Teralys Capital and its co-investors across Quebec and Canada to fund new biotechnology companies that can flourish in this market. Our firm has a strong track record of investing in early-stage research and partnering with global pharmaceutical companies.”

Life sciences is an important sector for Quebec and Teralys Capital. Teralys Capital has invested in and will continue to participate in investment funds that combine the required larger fund size, international experience, and relationships with strategic partners. Versant Ventures, its fifth investment in life sciences, is an integral part of Teralys’ and its partners’ strategy to bolster the industry in Quebec and in Canada.

Cedric Bisson, Venture Partner, Teralys Capital, added, “We are excited to actively contribute to the launch of Inception Sciences in Quebec. Versant Ventures, a leading global venture capital firm, excels with its unique access to large global pharmaceutical companies, and its presence in our ecosystem should forge stronger links between Quebec and key international industry and investment decision makers. Furthermore, Versant Ventures’ recognized expertise in medical devices will strengthen our ability to develop and commercialize our entrepreneurs’ innovations in this field.”

“Through its new direct investment in Versant Ventures, along with its support as a limited partner in Teralys, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ continues its efforts to expand the number of life sciences investment funds active in Quebec”, said Alain Denis, Senior Vice-President, New Economy, of the Fonds de solidarité FTQ. “This investment team’s track record, extensive network, operational expertise, along with its unique skills in starting businesses and its collaborative business model with pharmaceutical companies, make it a valuable partner for the Fonds, which has been consistently investing in life sciences over many years. We are pleased to see Versant launch an operational Inception Sciences unit in Quebec. Inception will also take advantage of locally existing talent and infrastructure.”

According to Neal Hill, Vice-President, Fund of Funds at BDC Venture Capital: “Versant’s new presence in Quebec expands the firm’s footprint across Canada, as they now have facilities in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. We are excited to have worked with our partners at Teralys and Fonds de Solidarité FTQ to enable this top-tier life science fund with such a strong commitment to the future of the biopharma segment.”

About Teralys Capital
Teralys Capital is a fund of funds created to finance private venture capital funds focused on investing in life sciences, information technology and cleantech companies. The fund has $700 million in capital commitments from Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Investissement Québec. Teralys Capital is also managing two existing portfolios of venture capital funds with additional assets under management of over $600 million. It is currently the largest fund of funds in Canada. Visit http://www.teralyscapital.com for more information.

About the Fonds de solidarité FTQ
The Fonds de solidarité FTQ helps drive our economy. With net assets of $9.7 billion as of November 30, 2013, the Fonds is a development capital investment fund that channels the savings of Quebecers into investments in all sectors of the economy to help further Quebec’s economic growth. Its investments, in all sectors of the economy, contribute to the creation and maintenance of businesses and development in Quebec. The Fonds is a partner, either directly or through its network members, in close to 2,400 companies. With its more than 615,000 owner-shareholders, it has helped, on its own or with other financial partners, to create, maintain and protect more than 170,000 jobs. For more information, visit http://www.FondsFTQ.com.

About BDC Venture Capital
With more than $1 billion under management and more than 25 years of industry experience, BDC Venture Capital is an investor of choice focusing on IT, health, and energy/clean technology companies, as well as venture funds, with high growth potential. From seed through expansion to exit, our mandate is to help build outstanding Canadian companies, while working to create a sound financial ecosystem for Canadian technology ventures. Find out more at http://www.bdc.ca/vc or on Twitter @BDC_VC.

About Inception Sciences
Inception Sciences is a drug discovery incubator backed by Versant Ventures, with research sites in the US and Canada. Inception Sciences consists of a seasoned team of drug discoverers with a track record of inventing drugs that have successfully entered the clinic and market. In collaboration with pioneering academic researchers, Inception Sciences has created multiple new start-up companies for translating breakthrough scientific insights into novel therapies. http://www.inceptionsci.com

About Versant Ventures
Versant Ventures is a leading venture capital firm that invests in innovative, groundbreaking bio- pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other life science opportunities. Founded in 1999, the firm consists of an experienced team committed to helping entrepreneurs build successful companies that impact healthcare and improve quality of life. http://www.versantventures.com

SOURCE Teralys Capital


Teralys Capital, Eric Legault, Managing Partner, (514) 509-2082, elegault@teralyscapital.com; Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Patrick McQuilken, Senior Advisor, Media Relations and Communications, (514) 850-4835 (o); (514) 703-5587 (m), pmcquilken@fondsftq.com; BDC Venture Capital, Shawn Salewski, (514) 283-1759, shawn.salewski@bdc.ca; Inception Sciences, Cathy Stuhler, (858) 224-7701, CStuhler@inceptionsci.com; Versant Ventures, Luciana Castro, (650) 233-2214, lcastro@versantventures.com.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock