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A Chilean family investment empire grows rapidly

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Pharmaceutical heirs the Weinstein family, originally from Chile, are building a sizable portfolio of healthcare and biotech businesses after the third generation sold the family business five years ago in a multi-billion dollar deal. 

The family’s wealth comes from Chilean-based business they owned called CFR Pharmaceuticals, which became the country’s biggest drugmaker in terms of revenue by the time it was sold to Abbott Laboratories in 2014 for $2.9 billion. The Weinsteins owned 72.7% of the business when it was sold, worth around $2.2 billion.

Since then they have been linked to a number of investment groups including a Bahamian-based business called EMC2 Fund and its investment subsidiary Benslie, and Isreal-based venture group Olive Tree Ventures. Also, the family has backed two private equity groups: a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based private equity group called WM Partners; and s New York City-based fund called Vanterra Capital. 

The family member behind much of these efforts is Alejandro Weinstein, who was the CEO of CFR when it was sold.  As the boss of CFR, Alejandro grew the business rapidly through acquisition and organic growth, and was rewarded with the sale after ten years at the top of the family business. CFR was set up by Alejandro’s grandfather Nicolas Weinstein in Santiago in 1922. The family originally come from Ukraine. 

Flush with a sizable chunk of capital, Alejandro set up WM Partners in 2015, partnering with Jose Minski, who founded and grew a number of healthcare and health supplement businesses before co-founding the private equity group. WM Partners has since acquired stakes in mostly pharmaceutical companies making health supplement products. 

Alejandro also sits on the advisory board of Vanterra Capital and is likely to be an investor in the private equity group’s funds. Vanterra invests in a broad range of businesses, although most of them not related to healthcare. 

Alejandro also co-founded Olive Tree Ventures, a Tel Aviv-based venture investor, which specializes in biotech, but also has invested outside of the sector.  

Alejandro, along with his brother Nicolas, is also linked to EMC2 and its investment arm Benslie, which is building up positions in a number of biotech businesses. EMC2 through Benslie has bought stakes in a number of businesses, including Convexity Scientific, which has developed a new type of nebulizer for asthma sufferers. Benslie has participated in a number of investment rounds in the Fairfield, Connecticut-based healthcare company. The most recent investment was a Series B round worth $3.5 million last week. 

Benslie and Olive Tree have also backed a pain management healthcare group called Medasense Biometrics, which is based in Tel Aviv. 

EMC2 also has a circa 7% holding in a NASDAQ- and Tel Aviv-listed biotech group called RedHill Biopharma.  

On top of all this, Nicolas also owns a Connecticut-based investment group called Water Bear Investments, which invests in healthcare and real estate.

The Weinsteins have been good at diversifying their business interests since the sale of the family enterprise, proving that family capital is often more important than a family business. 

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