Gilde Healthcare will expand commercial relationships and production facilities for its latest investment, Sanquin Reagents, partner Hugo de Bruin told PE Hub Europe.
Sanquin Reagents is the first investment from Gilde’s €517 million Private Equity Fund IV, which closed in March 2022. Gilde announced its intention to buy Sanquin Reagents, a producer and seller of blood group and immune system reagents, in late August.
“We have plenty of funds available to build this out, invest in new equipment and further scale it up,” de Bruin said.
Amsterdam-based Sanquin Reagents operates in the field of haematology and immunology reagents, supplying tests to laboratories for medical diagnostics and research. Sanquin Reagents is a carve out from Sanquin Health Solutions (SHS), owned fully by Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation. The foundation, established in 1998, is the sole supplier of blood to healthcare providers in the Netherlands and works on a not-for-profit basis.
SHS built out Sanquin Reagents in the past five years to a level where de Bruin said it needs more investment to scale up. “It’s a setting in which there are a few customers that have worldwide coverage, and they want to do a lot more with these reagents,” he said. “It’s for us now to build out these commercial relationships and build out their production facilities because that’s the main driver of the growth case.”
Gilde’s investment will support the growth of Sanquin Reagent’s research team, building on its specialist knowledge, and boost the production of diagnostic tests.
When it comes time to sell Sanquin Reagents, Utrecht-based Gilde is confident of finding buyers. While 75 percent of Gilde’s deals are proprietary, according to de Bruin, on the Sanquin deal it had to beat several bidders in strategic and financial terms. De Bruin expects the interest, including cross border, to increase as the company grows.
Its high percentage of proprietary deals is also why Gilde has experienced “limited impact” on pricing and volumes in its segment, even as markets get tighter.
The European healthcare sector also requires knowledge of the specifics for each country, said de Bruin. “We understand a lot of healthcare systems, and we have a comprehensive network that also allows us to do these proprietary deals.”
This network helped Gilde stand out from the other bidders, de Bruin added. “We know what producing reagents and selling them to IVD players entails. That gives us a big head start.”
But experience alone did not make Gilde a good match for Sanquin Reagents, said de Bruin. “From their perspective, they’re very keen on a partner that is willing to take the company further, not just in a financial sense, but also on an impact level. Our model has always been better care at lower cost.
“This is also what resonated well with the Sanquin Health Solutions organisation.”