Oxford, Novaxia JV makes 1st French life sciences buy

Canadian property investor Oxford Properties has joined forces with French urban developer Novaxia to acquire the Biocitech life sciences campus in Paris, France.

The deal marks the first acquisition of the partnership, announced in May this year, to invest approximately €1 bn to acquire and develop life sciences buildings across France.
Biocitech, located in the Romainville submarket of Paris, comprises 21,000 m2 of lab, office and specialist storage space across seven buildings and enjoys a rich history as a life sciences hub. The campus is leased to 17 occupants including Galapagos, Mutabilis and Nextdot. Two-thirds of the occupiers are mature companies with the remaining third start-ups, creating a scientific community with endeavours across biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, bioinformatics, the provision of scientific and technological services as well as medical devices and equipment.
‘Building a global life science business of scale represents one of our highest conviction investment strategies,’ commented Pierre Leocadio, Senior Vice President and Head of European Investment at Oxford Properties. ‘This acquisition presents us with an exciting opportunity to enter the Paris life sciences market, which is underpinned by high occupier demand yet an acute undersupply of space. At Biocitech, we aim to create a premier campus that serves the entire life and product cycle of biotech firms which is an increasingly important sector in France.’
Oxford and Novaxia have plans to substantially invest in and reposition the Biocitech site. The project plans to create close synergies between occupiers and to optimize opportunities for internal and external collaboration. To better serve Biocitech’s occupiers, work will be undertaken in the short term to improve the laboratory space and reduce energy consumption.
The Bioctech site combines both income producing properties with future development potential to expand the campus to meet the strong demand in the Paris region for cutting-edge for life sciences facilities while offering new and accessible services for the city.
Joachim Azan, founding president of Novaxia, said, ‘With the acquisition of Biocitech, we are taking a first step in creating places that represent the entire life sciences value chain (research laboratories, incubators, accelerators and production plants). Real estate will thus be the starting point for scientific innovation so that France retains its best researchers, its best companies and strengthens its scientific sovereignty. With Oxford, we are at the beginning of a partnership, which plans to make further acquisitions.’
The development of life sciences requires real estate that meets the technical needs and uses of a community. In France there is a shortage of suitable buildings, according to Aude Landy-Berkowitz, managing director of Novaxia Development. ‘The requirements are multiple and specific in terms of water, air, height or safety. We will develop real estate that is complementary and synergistic, adaptable with enclosed as well as shared spaces in the service of research and innovation and suitable to small start-ups as well as large companies. With Biocitech, we are creating new campuses open to cities and residents, just like those in Amsterdam, Oxford or Boston.’
With its global experience in life sciences, Oxford Properties will complement Novaxia's local knowledge. Since 2017, Oxford Properties has developed extensive life sciences experience through credit and equity investments as well as the development of laboratories and GMP facilities. Oxford now operates across the top 10 U.S. life sciences markets as well as in London and Cambridge in the UK.


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