San Diego Business Journal

Versant Ventures Announces Leader for New Fund's Investments in San Diego, Bay Area

By Sarah de Crescenzo Friday, January 6, 2017
   

Versant Ventures, a global health care investment firm, announced it has appointed Clare Ozawa to lead investments in San Diego and in the Bay Area in preparation for the launch of its new $400 million fund.

The fund will invest in as many as 25 biotechnology companies in the U.S., Canada and Europe, with an initial investment expected this quarter, the company said.

Ozawa will transition this year from her current role as chief operating officer of Inception Sciences, a drug discovery engine co-founded with Versant, where she is responsible for strategic business development, operations and finance for the Inception research sites in San Diego, Vancouver and Montreal, to a managing director for Versant’s sixth fund.

At Inception, which Ozawa joined as founding chief business officer in 2011, she played a leadership role 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, Versant said. Previously Ozawa was involved in several successful investments at Versant including Flexion, Biotie (purchased by Acorda) and Quanticel (purchased by Celgene), according to the investment firm.

She joined Versant from Novartis Pharma, where she led strategic initiatives for the Novartis Pharma Executive Committee. Previously Ozawa was at McKinsey & Co. where she advised clients across the biopharmaceutical sector. Ozawa has a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Stanford University, and holds a doctoral degree in neurosciences from Stanford University Medical School.

Other managing directors in Versant’s sixth fund include Brad Bolzon, Ph.D., Jerel Davis, Ph.D., Kirk Nielsen, Tom Woiwode, Ph.D., and chief financial officer Robin Praeger.

Since Versant’s founding in 1999, more than 65 of its portfolio companies have achieved successful acquisitions or IPOs, according to the firm. Versant has offices in San Francisco, New York, Minneapolis, Canada and in Basel, Switzerland.