Esprit takes eight percent in pharma merger

Venture capital firm Esprit Capital Partners has acquired a Canadian drug company to merge with its existing portfolio business Kiadis Pharma.

Esprit Capital Partners, a European technology-focused venture capital firm, has merged Celmed BioSciences, a Canadian biopharmaceutical company, with Kiadis Pharma, a drug production company and existing Esprit investment.  Esprit owns eight percent of the company, which will have its headquarters in the Netherlands with facilities in Canada. 

Celmed and Kiadis: drug production

Robert James, partner at Esprit Capital, told PrivateEquityOnline that a merger was not always a part of Esprit’s plan when it originally invested in the business in May 2001.  He said that Life Science Partners, a Dutch venture capital firm, which co-invested in Kiadis, found the Celmed opportunity.

James said: “The merger brings Esprit closer to an exit.  I can’t say how much closer in terms of time but the company now has two projects in clinical trials, which should make it more attractive in terms of a merger or an initial public offering.”
 
Noordelijke Ondernemings Maatschappij, a Dutch venture capital firm, also has interests in the business.

Taylor Wessing gave legal advice to Esprit while Belgium-based Stibbe advised Kiadis.

Esprit Capital Partners was created by the merger of the Prelude Ventures and Cazenove Private Equity teams in June 2006. Esprit has $500 million (€380 million) of assets under management. The firm invests in western European business and focuses on technology, media, telecoms and healthcare.