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Sapphiros Launched to Invest in Growth-Stage Dx Firms; Acquires POC Test Developer Biocrucible

NEW YORK — Investment firm KKR said on Wednesday that it formed a company to invest in growth-stage diagnostic companies in partnership with industry veteran Namal Nawana.

The new company, called Sapphiros, has signed an agreement to acquire UK-based startup Biocrucible, which is developing point-of-care molecular diagnostics based on a proprietary isothermal nucleic acid amplification technology, KKR said. Sapphiros has also taken an unspecified equity stake in GrapheneDx, a developer of at-home consumer diagnostic devices based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

According to KKR, Namal Nawana, who previously served as CEO of medical equipment manufacturer Smith+Nephew and diagnostics firm Alere, will oversee Sapphiros as its executive chairman.

"As the era of sophisticated at-home and near-patient testing rapidly expands, particularly following the global pandemic, new technologies are required to respond to consumers' unmet needs," Nawana said in a statement. "We established Sapphiros not only to identify and invest in these new technologies but also to help deliver them at scale."

In late 2019, KKR sold life science tools company LGC, which it acquired in 2015, to a consortium of private equity firms.