Sterling Capital Partners has purchased a controlling interest in Wilmington, Del.-based Optimer Inc. from its founders, the J.W. Moore family. Optimer, Inc. is best known for its Optimer Performance Fibers division that markets Dri-release with FreshGuard, a patented moisture-release and odor-blocking textile technology. Licensed worldwide, Dri-release is used primarily in performance activewear from over 100 prominent brands such as Adidas, Polo Ralph Lauren and Hanes.

An affiliate of Sterling Partners, Sterling Capital Partners is a middle-market private equity fund with over $3 billion under management. Moore and his son, Chris, and daughter, Beth, will stay with the company. The elder Moore put in 26 years at DuPont Co. before setting up Optimer.

Optimer, Inc. conducts both internal and contract research, development and consulting projects involving advanced polymer technologies, fiber and fabric processes, environmental protection, health promotion and much more. Among the company's other accomplishments, it developed fibers containing carbon nanotubes that help control astronauts' body temperature during spacewalks.

“We first became acquainted with Sterling in 2006 while working with them to develop a fire retardant version of Dri-release for one of their divisions,” says Dr. John W. Moore, CEO and spokesman for the Moore family, founders of Optimer, Inc. “We chose the company to join us because of their unparalleled success in helping grow companies like ours.” According to the company's web site, Sterling Capital has also invested in driFire, a manufacturer of flame-resistant apparel for military and commercial markets worldwide.