Oxford and Novaxia link up on €1b French life sciences plan

Global real estate investor Oxford Properties Group and Novaxia, a French urban investor and developer, have entered into a long-term strategic partnership to invest in and, primarily, develop a new supply of life science real estate in France. 

Novaxia will act as development manager and co-asset manage alongside Oxford with the partnership targeting approximately €1 bn of investment over the next few year.

According to the two firms, the fast growth of France’s life sciences sector has accelerated further following the Covid-19 pandemic, and become a key priority for the French government, but there is a critical lack of specialist technical real estate infrastructure to support this growth.

The partnership aims to bring forward new supply of space to help meet that demand and is already in active discussions with local regulators. It will announce its first investments in the near future, which are focused on the development of lab and research centres for biotech and medtech companies.

Pierre Leocadio, head of investment, Europe at Oxford Properties, said: 'Building a global life sciences business of scale remains one of Oxford’s highest priority investment strategies and France is one of our strongest conviction markets in Europe for growth.

'Having undertaken significant investment into strategic life science markets in North America and UK in recent years, our sights are firmly set on replicating those successes in France. Historically, France has been at the forefront of R&D in the fields of medicine and pharmaceuticals, it is therefore well-positioned to maintain this leadership position as technology continues to disrupt and accelerate new innovations in this sector.'

The first phase of the partnership’s investment activity will focus on Paris, which is experiencing an acute supply shortage of lab and life sciences incubator space.

Paris attracts 80% of all biotech venture capital funding in France, which doubled between 2020 and 2021 to €1.6 bn and is expected to underpin growing demand for life sciences space. The partnership will invest across France and is exploring other emerging markets such as Lyon and Strasbourg.

Life sciences expertise
Both Oxford and Novaxia entered the life sciences asset class in 2017 and have subsequently each built substantial expertise and leadership in the sector. The partnership accelerates their respective strategies and brings Oxford’s international life sciences platform to the French market, combining with Novaxia’s deep local market expertise.

Oxford and its portfolio companies manage approximately C$80 bn (€58 bn) of assets worldwide. The company has grown its life science business across 10 strategic North American markets as well as in Cambridge and London in the UK.

Since the start of 2021, Oxford has completed almost US$2.5 bn of life sciences investment across R&D labs and GMP facilities and has identified a further US$3.5 bn of follow-on development opportunities.

Joachim Azan, president and founder of Novaxia, said: 'Novaxia is opening up to partnerships and breaking new ground by adding another string to its urban recycling bow. Following housing, Novaxia will recycle obsolete buildings into places of innovation in the life sciences.'

Aude Landy-Berkowitz, executive director of Novaxia Développement said: 'The development of Life Sciences requires a suitable real estate that meets the technical needs and uses of a community. Real estate in France today is not designed with this in mind. For example, there is a significant lack of L1 to L3 type laboratories and their development requires specific expertise.

'There are multiple and specific needs for water, air, overhead room or even in safety. This partnership will work on their future-proofed design and operating modes, imagining reversibility between laboratory and office. We will develop a real estate that is complementary and synergistic, adaptable with closed and shared spaces in the service of research and innovation.'


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