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Healthy Cities: Make way for life sciences in Europe and UK

Kadans Science Partner’s multi-tenant Zernike Campus, Groningen where risk management and quality assurance organisation DNV GL recently signed the first lease.

The Life Sciences sector is poised for take-off in the UK and in Europe, experts agreed at Real Asset Media’s Healthy Cities investment briefing, which was held online yesterday.

“I am sure this year will be the busiest yet for the sector,” said Chris Walters, investor and developer lead, life sciences, JLL. “Life sciences came top of the list in our investor survey this year, which shows the direction of travel.”

Over the last year there has been more of a focus in the investment market on life sciences, which has come into its own as an asset class, he said. As more assets came to the market at the end of 2020, there was growing interest from non-specialist investors.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of research and innovation and focused minds on the importance of creating innovation clusters where science and technology can produce life-saving and life-enhancing results.

“Life sciences used to be the alternative alternative and very few players were interested, but that’s all changed,” said James Sheppard, head of commercial UK & Ireland, Kadans Science Partner. “Now these new eco-systems are seen as a long-term, sustainable asset class, so the smart money is investing in the sector.”

An example of big names getting in on the act was the acquisition of Kadans by AXA IM-Real Assets for a rumoured €500 million last November in order to enter the European life science property market. Kadans is a developer, owner and operator of science parks and lab offices with a large portfolio in the UK and Europe.

“These new eco-systems are seen as a long-term, sustainable asset class, so the smart money is investing in the sector.”
James Sheppard, head of commercial UK & Ireland, Kadans Science Partner

“We see opportunities from Aberdeen to Southampton and across Europe, but we need capital and now we have found an incredible partner in AXA-IM,” said Sheppard.

As interest grows in this emerging but high-growth asset class, more financing is becoming available.

“The growth of venture capital funding alongside public sector funding is a great combination, which ensures life sciences will go from strength to strength,” said Walters. “I am really excited for the year ahead, because I know it will be an important one for the sector.”

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