Verdane exits clinical trials company – updated

Verdane initially invested in CRF Health by buying 100 percent of Nordic Venture Partners I in 2013.

Verdane Capital Advisors has sold clinical trials company CRF Health to mid-market private equity firm Vitruvian Partners, according to a statement.

In early 2013, Verdane invested in CRF through its 100 percent acquisition of Nordic Venture Partners I, a $25 million 2000-vintage fund. The initial investment gave Verdane a minority position in CRF and a few months later Verdane bought out another shareholder’s position to gain majority control.

“For us, the CRF journey is a textbook example of what we can achieve with Verdane funds’ flexible investment strategy,” Verdane managing partner Lars Thoresen said. “In step one, Verdane funds provided liquidity in two phases to different owner groups. This enabled step two, which was all about helping CRF grow by working closely with the management team.”

CRF was founded in Helsinki in 2000. The company helps biopharmaceutical companies collect electronic self-reported data during clinical trials. About 550 clinical trials have been completed to date.

Under its control Verdane helped CRF expand its management team and target new therapeutic and geographic areas. The company’s revenues grew by 80 percent.

Verdane initially invested in CRF using Verdane Capital VII, a 2010-vintage fund which raised SEK 1.5 billion ($188.5 million; €159 million). The fund is fully invested and has 12 remaining core portfolio companies.

Norway-based Ferd Capital and Hamilton Lane also backed CRF, through co-investments in Verdane funds. Principals from both firms were unavailable to comment by press time.

The deal is expected to close on or before 31 January, the statement disclosed.

Verdane is based in Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki and has acquired 23 direct secondaries portfolios with stakes in more than 250 companies. It is currently investing its Verdane Capital VIII, which closed on SEK 2 billion in June. In September the fund sealed its fifth deal, investing in nutrition supplements and training gear company MM Sports.

This story has been updated to reflect that the Nordic Venture Partners I Verdane acquired is a 2000-vintage fund, different from the US-based Nordic Venture Partners I which is a 2010-vintage fund.