China’s Lilly Asia secures $40m commitment from US pension fund

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China-based venture capital firm Lilly Asia Ventures has received a commitment of $40 million for its fifth biosciences fund, LAV Biosciences Fund V, from San Francisco Employee’s Retirement System (SFERS), according to an investment report by the pension fund’s CIO.

Lilly Asia is a healthcare-focused VC firm backed by global pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. It closed its fourth China/Asia life science-focused fund at a hard cap of $450 million in August 2017. The firm has now about $1 billion in assets under management.

Last October, Lilly Asia joined an $80-million Series C financing round for KSQ Therapeutics, a Cambridge-based developer of oncology drugs. In August, it led a $15-million pre-Series B financing round for Beijing-based biotech company EdiGene Inc.

Besides SFERS, another US pension fund, the Los Angeles County Employees’ Retirement Association (LACRA) has committed $100 million to LAV Biosciences Fund V this January, marking the fund’s first investment of 2019.

Another Chinese VC firm, ClearVue Capital has also recently received $200 million worth of commitments for its third fund, ClearVue Partners III from the investment council of the $75-billion Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund.

Shanghai-based ClearVue Capital is currently on the road to raise $600 million for ClearVue Partners III, almost twice as much as its second fund, which was closed at a hard cap of $362 million in 2017.

Meanwhile, SFERS has also committed $100 million to Blackstone’s latest real estate fund, Blackstone Real Estate Partners IX. In its previous board meeting, the pension fund had approved a $100-million allocation to China’s CMC Capital Partners III LP, a total of $36 million to Lightspeed China Partners’ latest fund family, and $25 million to Fifth Wall Ventures.

The interest among US pension funds to back Asian GPs is growing as more Asia-focused vehicles receive sizeable commitments. Last week, the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System approved a commitment of $175 million across two Asian PE funds – Korea-based Hahn & Company and India-based ChrysCapital.

In January, the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System committed $25 million to Hong Kong-based Baring Private Equity Asia’s seventh Asia-focused vehicle. The $5.5-billion Baring Asia Fund VIII has also received allocations from other US pension funds, including Texas Employees Retirement System ($15 million), Los Angeles Fire & Police Pension System ($25 million) and Rhode Island State Investment Commission.

Also Read:

US pension fund LACERA commits $100m to Lilly Asia’s fifth biosciences fund

Lilly Asia backs KSQ Therapeutics, portfolio firm Gritstone raises $100m in IPO

Singapore Reporter/s

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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. 
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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.