OMERS hired James Aw to serve in the newly created position of chief medical officer, a person with knowledge of the matter told Buyouts.
Aw, who officially joined the C$97 billion ($74 billion) pension fund this week, will work with in-house teams to support OMERS’ human resources, members services and investment objectives, the source said.
On the investment side, Aw’s responsibilities include supporting transaction due diligence in the health and wellness and life sciences sectors. He will also provide guidance to related portfolio companies on their market opportunities and challenges.
Aw is the former chief medical officer of Medcan, a Toronto-based provider of diagnostic assessments and personalized health programs. He held the job for 15 years, overseeing the company’s physician team and medical operations. Aw maintains a clinical practice and is part-time faculty in the general internal medicine division of Johns Hopkins University.
Healthcare is a key theme across OMERS’ private investment platforms.
OMERS Private Equity has long specialized in direct investments in healthcare, with six of its 16 disclosed portfolio companies in the industry. They include Paradigm Outcomes, a Walnut Creek, California-based catastrophic and complex case management business, which OMERS agreed to acquire late last year from Summit Partners.
OMERS Ventures, an affiliate of the PE group, makes direct investments in early-stage life sciences companies, typically with a focus on software. Its activity this year includes leading a $6.5 million Series A financing of PeerWell, a San Francisco-based surgery optimization platform.
Earlier in 2019, OMERS Growth Equity was launched as the PE group’s third pillar to make direct investments in mid-stage companies poised to reshape traditional sectors. The strategy includes opportunities where OMERS has developed a track record, such as healthcare, Buyouts reported in April.
OMERS Infrastructure also has exposure to healthcare, backing such businesses as LifeLabs, a Toronto-based provider of laboratory testing and management services.