Healthcare firm CBC eyes global expansion after closing flagship above hard-cap

CBC, which made its name in Chinese healthcare, will open two international offices this year amid plans to become a 'one-stop' healthcare asset management shop, CEO Wei Fu tells PEI.

CBC Group, the global asset manager formerly known as C-Bridge, is on a mission to become the world’s largest investment firm dedicated to healthcare after closing its latest buyout fund above its hard-cap.

CBC’s Fu: Healthcare version of Thoma Bravo or Silver Lake will come from Asia

C-Bridge Healthcare Fund V held a final close on $1.67 billion this month, surpassing its $1.2 billion initial target size and $1.5 billion hard-cap, according to a statement seen exclusively by Private Equity International. Fundraising began in early 2021.

The firm secured permission from its LP Advisory Committee to extend the hard-cap in Q3 2021 to accommodate existing LPs that wanted to re-up but needed more time to complete their due diligence processes and use 2022 allocations, a spokesperson said.

Fund V’s close brings CBC’s assets under management to roughly $5 billion across buyouts, venture capital, healthcare royalties and, more recently, real estate. Last year, it partnered with Dutch pension fund manager APG Asset Management to launch a life sciences real estate investment fund seeking $1.5 billion, affiliate title PERE reported.

“I think we are going to be a one-stop healthcare global asset management firm – we can provide the tailor-made service from all angles,” chief executive Wei Fu told PEI.

“If you are talking about a healthcare version of Thoma Bravo or Silver Lake, it will come from Asia, because Asia is not that consolidated yet. We grew ourselves from sub-$200 million with our first fund [in 2014] to $5 billion or more, and I believe we can be even bigger in another few years .”

CBC, which initially made its name in Chinese healthcare, plans to open offices in London and Seoul later this year, Fu said. The firm already has overseas premises in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and New York, according to its website.

“We started from China; we are not limited to China,” Fu noted. “Healthcare is a global business, so when you are trying to make innovation, you need to grab talent from all over the world. Whenever you make a global innovation, you also need to commercialise the innovation globally, [because] if the innovation works on Chinese [people, it will work] on Americans as well.”

CBC’s successful close defies a challenging fundraising environment in China, which has been marred by a combination of regulatory upheaval in the latter half of 2021 and existing geopolitical tensions.

Fund V is nearly double the size of the 2018-vintage Fund IV, which closed on $852 million with commitments from San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System and Sherman Fairchild Foundation, according to PEI data.

CBC plans to use Fund V’s additional firepower to complete larger deals, Fu noted. The firm’s recent overseas investments include Japanese pharmaceutical business Jadeite Medicines, Singapore’s RVAC Medicines and Korean medical aesthetics business Hugel Inc. China deals include Yaneng Biosciences and a carveout of Takeda’s China cardiovascular business unit.

Healthcare accounted for 11 percent of the record $296 billion invested across Asia-Pacific last year, according to Bain & Co’s latest Asia-Pacific Private Equity Report. Like tech, the sector generates “unexpectedly high valuations” fuelled by investor demand, the consultancy said.

“All the deals are proprietary for us, and we can decide to not do any deals if the valuation is too high,” Fu said. “We can also decide that, okay, we are the most active investor during this vintage, and I think in the next 12 months’ time CBC will definitely be the most active investor in the market, because I think my peers are scared and overreacting to the capital markets, or they can’t raised money.”