US pension fund LACERA to commit $100m to Chinese biomedical VC firm LAV

Laboratory equipment. Photo: Pixabay

US retirement fund manager Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA) has approved a capital commitment of up to $100 million to two investment vehicles launched by Lilly Asia Ventures (LAV), a China-based biomedical venture capital (VC) firm.

In a filing on January 13, LACERA disclosed that its Board of Investments voted 9-0 to give the green light to an investment of up to $100 million to LAV Fund VI and LAV Fund VI Opportunities.

LAV is in the market raising $900 million for LAV Fund VI and $450 million for LAV Fund VI Opportunities, the firm revealed in two filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on January 21.

The two new funds will primarily make venture, growth, and public equity investments in the biomedical industry with a focus on China and the US. The vehicles will invest across different stages ranging from early stage to public listed equities, but they plan to place a great emphasis on early-stage investments.

LAV was originated in 2008 as a corporate VC arm of US-based drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co, before it spun out from its parent in 2009 in a move to enable the investment team to earn carried interest and positions to compete with traditional VCs for talent. As one of the earliest biomedical venture investors in China, LAV has over 30 scientific, medical, investment, and operational professionals, managing $1.2 billion+ of committed capital, shows the firm’s website.

The firm has been investing in China for over a decade and has recently moved on to expand the footprint in the US. It now operates from offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Palo Alto.

LAV is an investor behind oncology-focused biopharmaceutical firm Abbisko Therapeutics; Gracell Biotechnologies, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical firm that went public on Nasdaq this month; biotech company EdiGene; and Transcenta, a global biotherapeutics firm developing antibody-based therapeutics.

According to a series of SEC filings, between 2015 and 2019, the firm had set targets of $750 million for the predecessor fund, LAV Biosciences Fund V (filed in January 2019); $450 million for LAV Biosciences Fund IV (filed in February 2017); and $150 million for LAV Biosciences Fund III (filed in March 2015).

Its Fund V was substantially oversubscribed to reach the hard cap of $750 million, compared to the initial target of $650 million, according to an AVCJ report in February 2019, citing sources. LACERA had committed $100 million to the previous fund.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.