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KKR floats investment platform for ophthalmology, biopharma bets
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Global private equity giant KKR & Co. has created a platform focussed on investing in a diversified group of emerging ophthalmic medical device makers and biopharmaceutical companies.

The investment vehicle, named Falcon Vision, will source, evaluate and provide operational and financial capabilities to its investee companies, the New York-based PE firm said in a statement on Tuesday.

Falcon Vision will collaborate with another US-based investment firm Flying L Partners and its team of top executives led by Dr Bill Link to identify new opportunities.

“Falcon Vision’s strategy is to address the need for capital, access to executive talent, and operational guidance to support advancement of innovative products for under-managed ophthalmic diseases and vision preservation,” KKR said.

Link previously co-founded Versant Ventures and is known for his investments and growth of many ophthalmology companies. Other key members of the Flying L Partners team include Andy Corley and Dr Richard Lindstrom.

Link has more than 40 years of experience in the ophthalmic sector, having founded two marquee medical device franchises, AMO and Chiron Vision, which opened up the markets for cataract and LASIK, respectively.

“Ophthalmology is an important and attractive area for innovation given the unmet need across multiple disease categories, an aging population and the quality-of-life consequences of vision loss,” said Link.

KKR did not disclose the exact quantum of capital it plans to invest in the emerging ophthalmology segment. But it said it will deploy money from its $1.45 billion Health Care Strategic Growth (HCSG) Fund, which looks to invest in high-growth companies and help scale their businesses.

The HCSG Fund achieved final close in November 2017, KKR said at the time.

KKR manages multiple alternative asset classes, including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate, credit, and, through its strategic partners, hedge funds.

“There is a significant opportunity to accelerate much-needed therapies in the ophthalmic sector with flexible capital and operational guidance,” said KKR’s member and head of HCSG Fund Ali Satvat.

KKR entered India nearly a decade ago and has built a diversified PE portfolio as well as a large credit business through two non-banking financial companies. The firm has invested or committed about $3.3 billion of equity across private equity transactions in the country, KKR India head Sanjay Nayar told VCCircle last month.

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