Singapore’s GIC picks up 40% stake in Oxford Science Park

Photo: TOSP's Twitter page

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte has acquired a 40% stake in The Oxford Science Park (TOSP) in the UK, according to an announcement.

The transaction is part of a strategic partnership between the University of Oxford’s Magdalen College and an affiliate of GIC, which was announced by the former.

According to media reports, GIC paid 160 million pounds ($217 million) for the 40% interest, which would value the park at more than 400 million pounds ($542.3 million).

“This new joint venture will enable the rapid development of the Park, providing high-quality laboratory and office space for which strong demand exists from both new and existing occupiers,” Magdalen College said in a statement. It did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

TOSP is a major part of the college’s endowment, it added.

According to a Financial Times report, Magdalen College had in 2016 paid 18.1 million pounds for a 50% stake in the science park, which would imply a valuation of 36.2 million pounds at the time.

The science park houses 130 high-tech businesses, including Vaccitech that helped develop the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for the coronavirus. The startup was co-founded by Magdalen alumnus Adrian Hill.

“The partnership will provide financial resources directly to the College, helping it to meet its core charitable aims of furthering advanced study and research,” Magdalen’s statement read.

Other notable companies at the park are Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Exscientia, and Blue Earth Diagnostics.

Gene sequencing technology company Oxford Nanopore, which is backed by Singapore’s Temasek, recently raised 330 million pounds in its initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange.

Around the same time, Exscientia, which develops antiviral drugs using artificial intelligence, was listed on Nasdaq at a $3 billion valuation.

In November 2020, GIC had formed a joint venture with real estate trust Ventas to develop university-based research and laboratory space in the US, with total project costs estimated at $930 million.

The joint venture, in which GIC holds a 45% stake, may be expanded to include future projects.

GIC has also built up a portfolio of investments in life sciences companies. 

In May, it participated in a Series A round for Esco Lifesciences, the Singapore-founded maker of equipment for the healthcare and life sciences industry. 

The wealth fund also invested in Brii Biosciences, a clinical-stage company developing therapies for infectious diseases, in March this year. 

In March 2020, it re-invested in a Temasek-led funding round for Abbisko Therapeutics, a Chinese oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company.

GIC has declined to provide further details on the development.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.