KKR Creates Firm to Invest in Health-Diagnostics Technologies

KKR & Co. is creating a firm that will invest in diagnostic technologies such as Covid-19 tests, adding to its bets on fast-growing health-care companies.

The new entity, Sapphiros, will be led by industry veteran Namal Nawana, KKR said Wednesday in a statement seen by Bloomberg. Nawana previously was chief executive officer of medical-device maker Smith & Nephew Plc and Alere Inc., a test provider that Abbott Laboratories acquired in 2017.

KKR has wagered on growth-stage companies in the sector through a strategy run by partner Ali Satvat, who’s also co-head of the health-care industry team within the firm’s Americas private equity platform. Recent bets include starting mental-heath services provider Geode Health, medical-device platform Zeus Health, and Falcon Vision, which focuses on emerging ophthalmology assets.

KKR, with $367 billion of assets as of March 31, said it has invested $14 billion in the health-care industry since 2004.

Sapphiros’s first deals include buying Biocrucible, a British molecular diagnostics company, and an equity stake in consumer diagnostics firm GrapheneDx, which is developing technology for at-home testing, according to the statement.

“As the era of sophisticated at-home and near-patient testing rapidly expands, particularly following the global pandemic, new technologies are required to respond to consumers’ unmet needs,” Nawana, who’s also executive chairman of Sapphiros, said in the statement.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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