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Illinois Municipal backs Versant Ventures for $20 mln

  • IMRF increases commitment after investing in Versant’s fifth fund
  • Versant backed Audentes, which went public this summer
  • Venture firm recently backed Nouscom, which develops cancer-fighting viruses

Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund re-upped to healthcare-industry specialist Versant Ventures at its Aug. 26 meeting.

The $34.7 billion retirement fund committed $20 million to Versant Venture Capital Fund VI, its website says. The commitment remains subject to completion of legal due diligence.

Versant would not say how much it plans to raise through Fund VI. IMRF could not be reached for comment.

Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund committed $15 million to Versant Venture Capital V in 2013 after fielding investment proposals from 12 separate sector-focused venture capital firms, according to pension records. Versant closed Fund V on $305 million in 2014.

Versant will likely generate meaningful returns from its 11.1 percent stake in Audentes Therapeutics, a gene-therapy company that raised $75 million in an initial public offering earlier this year. Versant backed Audentes in its Series A, B and C rounds.

In May, the firm co-led a 12 million euro ($13.5 million) Series A round for Nouscom, a Swiss company developing viruses that can infect and kill cancer-causing cells. LSP also provided Series A financing to Nouscom.

Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund valued its alternatives portfolio, which includes private equity, venture capital and absolute return funds, at around $1.4 billion as of June 30. The retirement fund holds 4 percent of its assets in alternatives, well short of its 9 percent target.

The portfolio has delivered a time-weighted 10-year return of 6.41, net of fees, as of June 30. IMRF’s benchmark returned 10.2 percent during the same period.

Action Item: More about Versant Ventures: www.versantventures.com