GTCR, ex-NuVasive Chief Lucier launch new life-sciences platform

  • Lucier led Life Technologies through sale to Thermo Fisher
  • Ex-GreatCall CFO Berning takes post at Corza
  • New company will look at carveouts, investments in founder-owned business

In its latest executive-driven effort, GTCR joined forces with industry veteran Gregory Lucier to hunt for deals across life sciences and medical technology.

Lucier will be CEO of newly created Corza Health, which will pursue an initial platform investment ranging from a few hundred million dollars to well north of $1 billion, said Sean Cunningham, a managing director at the Chicago PE firm.

GTCR is investing out of Fund XII, a $5.25 billion pool.

“We’re going to look for large businesses,” Cunningham said, adding that for the right opportunity — one that enables the firm to put significantly more equity to work — “we’d be willing to start with something smaller.”

Lucier most recently was chairman and CEO at NuVasive, a nearly $3 billion-market-cap medical-device company specializing in spinal surgery.

“The breadth of opportunities that we can evaluate with [Lucier] are vast, given he’s been so successful across different areas,” Cunningham said.

While the longtime executive’s track record includes a position at GE Medical Systems in his earlier years, Lucier is perhaps better known for his several years at the helm of Life Technologies.

Lucier led Life Technologies as chairman and CEO from 2003 through its about $15 billion sale to Thermo Fisher Scientific in 2014. Under his leadership the life-sciences company’s revenue grew to $4 billion from $700 million.

The newly appointed Corza team also includes CFO Brian Berning. 

Berning most recently was CFO at GreatCall, the formerly GTCR-backed provider of connected-health and safety devices for seniors. Best Buy in October bought GreatCall for $800 million, just 14 months after GTCR invested.

“This partnership offers us an opportunity to do more complex transactions in these spaces,” Cunningham said. “Corporate carveouts would be great with this team.”

Complex carveouts are part of GTCR’s DNA.

For instance, the firm in 2014 carved out Cole-Parmer from Thermo Fisher, selling the company to Golden Gate Capital three years later.

GTCR in 2008 formed Devicor, whose initial platform investment was a corporate carveout of the Mammotome breast-care business from Johnson & Johnson. Devicor was ultimately acquired by Danaher in 2014.

Consistent with the firm’s broader investment approach, Corza will also explore opportunities to invest in founder-owned businesses.

Corza will cast a wide net across the broader life sciences and medical-device sector; but the focus in medical technology will likely be on the branded side, Cunningham said.

The new platform company will consider deals both domestic and abroad, he added.

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