The real assets arm of Axa Investment Managers is to enter the European life sciences sector following the acquisition of Kadans Science Partner – a real estate business specialising in the science world.

Axa IM has agreed to buy Kadans from Oaktree Capital Partner on behalf of unnamed clients for the sum of €500 million.

Kadans, founded in the 1990s, focuses on developing and operating specialised or purpose-built commercial life science buildings. 

The Dutch company is known in the sector for its creation of “innovation ecosystems”, not just within the individual building and campuses it operates but across its network of tenants and relationships across Europe. Kadans owns a portfolio spanning “key research locations” in the Netherlands, UK, and Germany.   

According to Axa IM, the acquisition will allow its real assets business to “enter and build immediate scale” in the life science and lab offices sector which, while already established in the US, is an emerging but high growth asset class in Europe.

John O’Driscoll, head of European transactions at Axa IM – Real Assets, said: “We are firm believers in the huge potential of a private equity model which marries long term investment capital with operational platforms and highly ambitious management teams who want to operate beyond the constraints of short term investments horizons.”

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. 

The company’s 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, and biotechnology.