Healthcare Venture Capital Firm Versant Ventures Strengthens Investment Team

versant_venturesIn preparation for the launch of its new $400M fund, global healthcare venture capital firm Versant Ventures announced several appointments to its Investment Team.

In details, Clare Ozawa, Ph.D., will transition from her current role as Chief Operating Officer of Inception Sciences to Versant Managing Director, and will lead investments in San Diego and the Bay Area.
She currently is responsible for strategic business development, operations and finance for the Inception research sites in San Diego, Vancouver and Montreal. During her tenure at Inception, Ozawa assumed leadership roles in the creation and management of six new companies launched in partnership with academic researchers and major biopharmaceutical companies including Roche, Celgene, Bayer and Shire.
She joined as Inception’s founding chief business officer in 2011 following her role as an investment professional at Versant, where she was involved in several investments including Flexion (NASDAQ:FLXN), Biotie (purchased by Acorda), and Quanticel (purchased by Celgene). Ozawa joined Versant from Novartis Pharma, where she worked in the Office of the CEO leading strategic initiatives for the Novartis Pharma Executive Committee.
Other managing directors in Versant’s sixth fund include Brad Bolzon, Ph.D., Jerel Davis, Ph.D., Kirk Nielsen, Tom Woiwode, Ph.D., and CFO Robin Praeger.

In addition, Alex Mayweg, Ph.D., has been appointed Venture Partner in Basel. As part of his role on the Investment Team, Mayweg will oversee operations of Baseline Therapeutics, a new Versant discovery engine to be launched in Basel. Baseline will partner with European academics to translate their discoveries into biotech startups, and will announce its first series A-backed company during 2017.
He joined Versant in 2016 from F. Hoffmann La Roche where he served as global head of chemistry.
Mayweg will work alongside Versant partners Guido Magni, MD, Ph.D., and Gianni Gromo, MD, Ph.D, who have been part of the Versant team for three successive funds.

Mary Haak-Frendscho, Ph.D., has been appointed to Venture Partner based in Toronto. Haak-Frendscho joined Versant in 2016 as CEO of the Blueline Bioscience discovery engine based at the MaRs center in Toronto’s Discovery District.
She brings more than 25 years of proven industry and entrepreneurial experience to support Versant’s goal of building a Canadian biotech portfolio in partnership with academics and entrepreneurs throughout the country.
Haak-Frendscho currently serves on the board of directors of Versant-backed Northern Biologics based in Toronto. She previously served as CEO at Igenica, chairman of Compugen, president and CSO of Takeda SF USA, and held R&D leadership roles at Genentech, Abgenix and XOMA.

Lloyd M. Segal, who joined Versant in 2016 to bolster company creation activities and the firm’s presence in Quebec, Canada, and the broader Northeast, has been appointed as Entrepreneur in Residence based in Montreal. He brings both operating and investment experience to the team, having served as founder and CEO of several biotechnology startups including Advanced Bioconcept and Caprion Pharmaceuticals, and having been a Managing Partner with Persistence Capital Partners, a Canadian institutional healthcare private equity investor.

Rahul Ballal, Ph.D., has been appointed as Entrepreneur in Residence based in Boston. Ballal, who joined Versant in 2016 to strengthen the firm’s access to the major academic centers in the Boston area, has helped create a broader presence for Versant in the Northeast along with the NYC-based team. He also currently serves as Chief Business Officer at Versant-backed Northern Biologics.
Prior to Versant and Northern, Ballal was VP of business development at Flexion where he led the company through several transactions.




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