U.S. Private Equity Firm Bets on Boom in U.K. Labs

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Harrison Street Real Estate Capital is betting on the growth of the U.K.’s bio-tech industry with a deal to combine the country’s largest science incubator with a portfolio of science parks.

The company’s venture with Trinity Investment Management has agreed to acquire BioCity Group, according to a statement. BioCity helps startups through early stage venture capital investment and accelerator programs.

Science parks have become one of the hottest real estate niches in the U.K. as international investors look to piggy-back on increased government funding for a sector that has been among the few beneficiaries of the coronavirus pandemic. The country has a shortage of purpose-built space for commercializing scientific research, despite boasting several of the world’s top academic institutions and pharmaceutical companies.

The venture will acquire a portfolio of 12 facilities across five U.K. science parks for about 120 million pounds ($167 million), according to the statement. The new business will be called We Are Pioneer Group and will manage a portfolio spanning 2.6 million square feet.

Chicago-based Harrison Street, which is owned by broker Colliers International Group Inc., has invested heavily in science facilities in the U.S. where demand for hubs around top universities has lured billions from real-estate investors. Blackstone Group Inc. last year recapitalized a portfolio of BioMed Realty life sciences buildings for $14.6 billion.

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