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Meet the 5 most active PE investors in life sciences

The life sciences industry has drawn considerable interest from private equity, which injects billions of dollars into this rapidly growing segment.

The life sciences industry has drawn considerable interest from private equity, which injects billions of dollars into this rapidly growing segment.

PE investments in life sciences peaked in 2021, when investors closed 695 PE transactions totaling $127.5 billion, according to PitchBook data. The space includes biotech and medical device companies as well as providers of related tools and services.

Among the main drivers of this demand are the spectacular returns that PE investors can potentially score through life sciences deals if they bet on the right horse. The median IRR for such deals signed in the past 10 years is about 25%, and the top-quartile performers generated a return of at least 50%, according to a report by Bain & Company.

Despite the slow M&A environment this year, dealmakers still sealed a handful of multibillion dollar transactions, including a more than $7 billion take-private of biopharma contract research organization Syneos Health and a roughly $6 billion acquisition of veterinary drugmaker Dechra Pharmaceuticals.

These mega-transactions, some of them the largest life sciences deals of the past few years, serve as evidence of investors’ ongoing appetite in this segment.

The industry is expected to see a steady supply, or even an uptick in deal flow, in the coming year, as interest rates will likely stabilize and investors are looking to deploy capital, said Carol Loepere, a partner at Reed Smith.

Particularly in the specialty pharma and medical device sectors, both PE-backed companies and strategic buyers have shown a growing appetite for new acquisitions to enhance their technology or expand the services and products they offer, Loepere said.

Here are the five most active PE investors in life sciences by deal count since 2018. They are ranked by the number of buyouts (excluding add-ons) and growth investments.

 

Featured image by Iana Kunitsa/Getty Images

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