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.