This is one of the consequences of the crisis linked to Covid-19. Driven by the government’s ambition to “to make France the first innovative and sovereign European nation in health” by 2030, the health industry has been on the rise in France for two years. A renewed interest that has not escaped Novaxia. The real estate developer plans to invest 2 billion euros in France over the next three years in the development of life sciences real estate.
“The needs in the sector are growing rapidly. France has many assets, in particular world-renowned academic research, cutting-edge hospitals and a large fabric of biotech, medtech and health start-ups, but it lacks suitable premises to accommodate all these talents,” explains Joachim Azan, president and founder of Novaxia. The Parisian property company has for the occasion entered into a partnership with the Canadian Oxford Properties Group, another real estate specialist, which has already to its credit several operations in the health sector in the United States and England. The two groups plan to invest together 1 billion euros in equity and to borrow 1 billion euros from banks.
Create French “Boston”
A more than generous envelope, while the annual amounts committed so far on this market segment in France are rather of the order of a few hundred million euros. Novaxia thus hopes to quickly establish itself as a reference in this field, like the American giant Alexandria Real Estate Equities, which has, across the Atlantic, more than 5.5 million square meters of buildings allocated to life sciences. in his wallet.
“The ambition is to be able to make France a big enough point on the world map of healthcare innovation to attract investors” Joachim Azan, President of Novaxia
To achieve this, the Frenchman, who presents himself as the specialist in “urban recycling”, relies on the conversion of vacant offices, more and more numerous under the effect of the breakthrough of telework and the flex-office, this trend towards officeless which allows companies to significantly reduce the size of their premises. Acquired at a discount, they will be transformed into research laboratories, drug production plants, logistics centers or business incubators, depending on the needs of future tenants.
The real estate developer mainly targets buildings located in large urban areas, near research institutes or renowned university hospitals. With the aim of pushing the emergence in France of major hubs, where the entire health ecosystem (researchers, doctors, entrepreneurs, pharmaceutical manufacturers, etc.) can be brought together in one place. France is indeed behind in the field. In the United States, the model is a hit. In just a few years, Boston has established itself as a world reference. The city of 1,000 biotechs is now considered the Silicon Valley of biotechnologies. “The ambition is to be able to make France a sufficiently large point on the world map of innovation in health to attract investors”, says Mr. Azan.
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