PE firm Cerestra to partner with Telangana govt for life sciences infra fund
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The Telangana government is partnering with real estate private equity firm Cerestra Advisors Ltd to float an infrastructure fund focused on the life sciences sector with a corpus of Rs 1,000 crore.

The fund, billed as the first of its kind in the life sciences space, will help create sophisticated plug-and-play infrastructure for pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical devices sectors, The Economic Times reported citing Telangana Industries Minister K Taraka Rama Rao.

For Cerestra, this comes after it bought an office park in Hyderabad's Genome Valley last year that boasts of tenants such as pharma giant Novartis, Swiss biotechnology company Lonza and Bharat Biotech, among others. The park - Alexandria Knowledge Park –  was bought for Rs 400 crore ($60 million).

An email query sent to Cerestra did not elicit a response till the time of filing this article.

Novartis and Lonza, among others, are expanding their capacities in the Genome Valley, Rao said, who laid foundation stone for projects with total investments of Rs 3,000 crore.

"Genome Valley will soon compete with the likes of Silicon Valley in terms of innovation and introduction of new drugs and vaccines," the newspaper quoted Rao as saying. 

Cerestra Advisors

The private equity firm underwent an ownership change last year with financial services firm Religare Enterprises Ltd selling its stake in Cerestra to Dubai-based The Capital Partnership Group Ltd (TCP) for an undisclosed amount.

Cerestra has built a portfolio of K12 schools as well as  biotech, life sciences and apparel parks through acquisitions. The assets will be listed under real estate investment trusts (REITs) on the Indian or overseas bourses. 

The Times of India reported last year that Cerestra owns a portfolio worth $125 million through nine schools and a knowledge park under two verticals—Cerestra Edu-Infra Fund and Mission Neutral.

As reported by VCCircle previously, it has bought a slew of school assets that include properties from Bangalore-based Jain Group of Institution and GEMS Education. The firm is raising roughly $400 million through both offshore and domestic vehicles for industrial parks and education assets. 

Cerestra also has a joint venture with Singapore-based fund Lighthouse Canton.

Early this year, Cerestra brought a new investor on board by diluting a 20% stake in the company to Gaurav Burman of Burman Family Holdings, the investment arm of Dabur promoters.

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