Carlyle buys life sciences manager Abingworth

The Carlyle Group announced today the purchase of $2 billion life sciences investment firm Abingworth in a move intended to bolster Carlyle’s global healthcare franchise.

Officials at the $301 billion Carlyle said that the transaction allows for the operation of a full risk-return spectrum of life sciences and healthcare investing from venture capital to buyouts. Abingworth has offices in three biotech hubs — London, Boston and San Francisco Bay Area and adds a 20-strong team of investment professionals and advisors with deep scientific backgrounds and an established track record investing across early- and late-stage biotech companies, to address significant, growing demand.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but the deal is expected to close later this year

Carlyle’s long-term healthcare portfolio has invested over $22 billion across buyout and growth equity since inception, including in transformative pharma and life sciences businesses such as PPD, Adicon, Curia, Piramal, Saama, SeQuent, TriNetX, and Unchained Labs. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic shed light on the increased need for expertise and access to capital to fund the development and commercialization of innovative healthcare and life sciences solutions in the years to come,” said Carlyle’s Global Head of Healthcare Steve Wise. “We’re excited to partner with the world-class team at Abingworth to expand upon Carlyle’s deep global healthcare expertise to invest in transformative businesses across the entire life sciences landscape.” 

“We’re proud of Abingworth’s history of partnering with entrepreneurs to create companies that have a significant impact on patients’ lives and we’re incredibly excited about what the future will hold as we continue to grow our strong franchises in life sciences venture capital and later-stage clinical co-development as part of Carlyle,” said Tim Haines, chair and managing partner at Abingworth.

In addition to having successfully deployed $3 billion of equity behind 179 life sciences companies through 14 dedicated life sciences funds, Abingworth is also pioneer of the clinical co-development strategy. This allows the firm to partner with pharma and biotech companies to help them finance and develop late-stage therapeutic assets in an accelerated manner. 

To further scale this strategy, Carlyle and Abingworth are forming Launch Therapeutics (Launch Tx), an operating company that will seek to partner with biotech and biopharma companies on funding and development of best‐in‐class, late‐stage clinical assets to bring life‐saving therapies to market better, faster, and cheaper. Launch Tx’s objective is to eliminate inefficiencies in clinical development and accelerate the path to market. Launch Tx will be led by industry veteran Anshul Thakral, former Chief Commercial Officer of PPD and a current Carlyle Operating Executive and Abingworth Venture Partner.

“We see a strong market need for a clinical development company that can bring access to capital, global resources, and deep operational expertise to biotech and biopharma companies looking to advance therapeutic candidates through clinical trials and regulatory approval,” said CEO of Launch Tx Thakral. “I’m thrilled to partner with the entire Carlyle and Abingworth organizations to form Launch Therapeutics.”

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