Telangana teams up with Cerestra to set up India’s first life sciences infra fund

By: Ashish Kulshrestha

Telangana has teamed up with private equity firm Cerestra Advisors to set up a first of its kind life sciences infrastructure fund in India with a corpus of Rs 1,000 crore.

The Bengaluru headquartered real estate-focussed PE fund has last year bought Alexadria Knowledge Park in Hyderabad for around Rs 400 crore to build an office portfolio on R&D clients. The Alexadria Knowledge Park already counts large tenants such as Siwss drug giant NovartisBSE -0.07 %, Vimta Labs, Bharat Biotech, Biological E, Lonza among others.

Known as bulk drugs capital of India, Hyderabad contributes nearly a third of India’s pharmaceutical products, apart from accounting for a third of global vaccine production.

Addressing the Bio Asia International conference in Hyderabad on Monday evening, the Telangana industries minister KT Rama Rao said the government has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Cerestra for exploring the life sciences infrastructure fund.

Rao said the first of its kind fund will create sophisticated modular plug-and-play specialised infrastructure for pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical devices industry.

Jasmeet Chhabra, managing partner OF Cerestra Advisors, said the fund will look at listing assets in two funds education infra fund and life sciences fund as REITs (real estate investment trust) by 2019 when they reach $500 million each. Their current size is $100 million each.

The minister said several global giants with presence in Telangana including Novartis, GSK and Lonza, among others, were expanding their capacities in Hyderabad’s Genome Valley. Rao on Monday participated in few foundation stone laying ceremonies involving cumulative investments of over Rs 3,000 crore by half a dozen firms including Biological E, which announced Rs 1,700 crore of expansion.

Genome Valley currently is home to over 200 life sciences firms including 50 global powerhouses, employing over 10,000 professionals in Hyderabad. “Genome Valley will very soon compete with the likes of Silicon Valley in terms of innovation and introduction of new drugs and vaccine,” said Rao.

Source: Economic Times

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