AXA IM – Real Assets to enter European life science sector

AXA IM - Real Assets to enter European life science sector
Image: AXA IM - Real Assets

AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets (AXA IM – Real Assets) is entering the European life science sector by acquiring Kadans Science Partner (Kadans) business, on behalf of clients, from funds advised by Oaktree Capital Management L.P.  

Kadans is a fully integrated developer, owner and operator of science parks and lab offices which has a market leading position in Europe. 

”The acquisition provides AXA IM – Real Assets with a unique opportunity to enter and build immediate scale in the life science and lab offices sector which, while already established in the U.S., is an emerging but high growth asset class in Europe,” said the company in a statement.

Kadans, active in European life science sector, owns a portfolio which spans key research locations in the Netherlands, UK and Germany and comprises 150,000 sqm of operating space across 20 assets and a further seven developments which will deliver c.70,000 sqm over the next three years.  65% of the portfolio has an ESG rating of Grade A, with a plan for the remaining assets to undergo renovation to reach that grade. 

Originally founded in the late 1990s, Kadans evolved its focus on developing and operating specialised or purpose-built commercial life science buildings. Kadans’ assets combine offices and incubator space alongside a range of specialist spaces including laboratories and cleanrooms and tech halls, as well as research and development facilities such as climate controlled environments and pilot plants.

Kadans’ tenant base comprises a mix of, global corporate, SME and start-up businesses, as well as academic and government institutions in highly innovative growth sectors such as Life Sciences, Food, Health, Living Environment, Biotechnology, Bio based and High Tech Semiconductors.

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AXA IM – Real Assets will work with the existing management team, who will stay with the business and retain a minority stake, to accelerate the growth of the platform across Europe.

“This is a significant transaction for AXA IM – Real Assets as it allows us to enter a high conviction sector at scale.  Kadans is a clear market leader in the life science and lab offices sector and the acquisition provides us with a unique opportunity to access a fully integrated platform comprising an existing operational portfolio and an extensive development pipeline together with a management team with unrivalled operational expertise.  In what is an emerging but fast growing sector in Europe, our aim is to work with Michel Leemhuis and his team to accelerate the expansion of the Kadans platform across Europe.  We believe that their operational expertise and contacts together with the network the AXA IM – Real Assets brand affords presents a powerful combination that will allow us to further cement Kadans’ leadership position in the European life science sector,” said John O’Driscoll, Head of European Transactions at AXA IM – Real Assets.

“For many years Kadans has accommodated knowledge-intensive enterprises throughout Europe, based upon our strong belief that the expansion of knowledge is an important driver of economic growth in Europe. The ecosystems we develop therefore aim to facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing. We are grateful to Oaktree for the support over the past three years and are very happy to expand our mission alongside AXA IM – Real Assets, whose extensive network and local presence in most European countries gives us the opportunity to strengthen our leading position in the European market for life science and lab offices. We are delighted with this partnership and look forward to a successful journey together,” added Michel Leemhuis, Chief Executive at Kadans Science Partner.