Pencarrow private equity takes significant stake in two NZ clinical research companies

Two of New Zealand’s leading clinical research companies, Lakeland Clinical Trials Group and Southern Clinical Trials Group, have partnered with Pencarrow Private Equity, which has acquired a significant stake in both organisations.

Following this investment, Lakeland Clinical Trials (LCT) and Southern Clinical Trials (SCT) have consolidated into one entity which will operate as PCRN Ltd (PCRN), effective from 13 October. Pencarrow, one of the county’s most respected and experienced private equity companies, backed by New Zealand investors, is now a 52.5% shareholder in the new entity.

Founders, Philippa Williams and Dr Michael Williams from LCT, and Julia Mathieson, and Dr Simon Carson from SCT, say Pencarrow’s investment and the decision to combine both companies will be transformative for New Zealand’s clinical research market.

This growth capital is excellent news for PCRN and for New Zealand because it allows us to rapidly scale our services to significantly increase New Zealand’s NZ$128m market share of the global US$44.3b clinical trial industry.

PCRN will be able to accelerate its expansion plans, and deliver a streamlined, centralised, nationwide network of clinical research trial sites and additional services to support its customers and franchisees, and to leverage its scale to attract more clinical trials to New Zealand.

Ultimately this means a greater number of patients across more geographic areas will have the opportunity to access the latest innovative treatments and therapies across a broader range of diseases.

The creation of the role of a Chief Executive for PCRN is an integral part of the strategy to support our expansion plans. The appointment of Ben Harman into this role builds our capacity to focus on growth and deliver best practice in clinical research through the development of enhanced systems and additional services for our franchisees and customers.

Ben Harman’s considerable experience in relevant aspects of the healthcare sector including driving business growth, building a brand, and his understanding of clinical trial opportunities, will be invaluable to support PCRN moving forward.

The founders of Lakeland Clinical Trials Group and the Southern Clinical Trials Group will remain in their respective executive roles and are shareholders of the new entity. In addition, Dr Michael Williams will be PCRN’s Medical Director, with Dr Simon Carson as Medical Advisor; Julia Mathieson and Philippa Williams will be joint Chief Operating Officers of the combined group, and both Julia Mathieson and Michael Williams will join PCRN’s Board. PCRN will continue its close relationship with Paratus Clinical in Australia.

“Going forward, PCRN will have a key focus on investing in its people and enhancing staff development. The scale of the new organisation will also provide more career progression and opportunities for staff within the group,” the founders say.

Murray & Co acted as financial advisor to LCT and SCT.