Life Sciences Partners (LSP) is one of Europe’s largest and most experienced health care investment firms. Among its most notable deals was the sale of Sapiens Steering Brain Stimulation—whose technology can help patients with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders reduce symptoms such as rigidity and tremors—to medical device maker Medtronic last August. MMG asked LSP General Partner René Kuijten, M.D., Ph.D., MBA, about the firm and the climate for health care deals in Europe.
Q. Can you provide some context on LSP?
René Kuijten: With about $1 billion under management, we’ve been active in the space for more than 25 years. We invest private equity in drugs and med-tech diagnostics. That’s our main activity. But we also have a fund in agro/food life sciences, one focused on cost reduction in health care and a fund focused on public small- and mid-cap biotech. This differentiation helps us enlarge our footprint and really understand the entire health care space from very early to very late. For example, our team that is active in the public space is much better at knowing what the conditions are under which you can best do an IPO and what is expected from public companies, so we can help our private companies better think through whether or not an IPO strategy is helpful.
Q. Is investing in public markets, in addition to private equity, a strategy widely used in Europe?
RK: Yes, I think the only fund that does that in the U.S. is OrbiMed. In health care cost reduction we engage in a joint effort with health insurance, so health insurance companies invest in our funds. That strategy really helps us understand what insurance groups are looking at, why reimbursement strategies are important and how you implement in a diagnostic setting, which is also helpful for the other kinds of private funds we have. These activities reinforce each other. We’ve had 19 exits in the past two years.
René Kuijten M.D., Ph.D., MBA, joined LSP in 2001. His primary responsibilities include investment in unlisted securities and the general management of the firm. Prior to joining LSP, Kuijten was a senior consultant at McKinsey & Company in Amsterdam, Brussels and Zurich, where he led McKinsey’s European health care practice.