Carlyle Group invests in Orsini Specialty Pharma

The Carlyle Group has agreed to acquire a stake in Orsini Specialty Pharmacy, joining Consonance Capital as a roughly equal investor in the rare disease specialty pharmacy sector, sources tell Axios.

Why is this important: Fueled by advances in genomics and technology, the development of drugs and gene therapies for rare diseases is accelerating rapidly.

  • Although big incumbents like UnitedHealth’s Optum, Express Scripts and CVS play in specialty pharmacy, Orsini is one of the biggest independent players dedicated to this niche.
  • Carlyle investment materializes three years later Consonance recapitalized Orsini in partnership with CEO Michael Fieri.

How it works: Orsini manages the handling and service requirements of expensive and complex pharmaceuticals, with a particular focus on ultra-rare drugs that often serve thousands of patients.

  • Offerings include distribution, distribution, reimbursement, case management services, among other personalized and therapy-specific services.

State of play: Carlyle’s investment, which sources say went through a process led by Houlihan Lokey, is the second specialty pharmacy deal in weeks.

  • In January, TPG Growth bought a minority stake to Memphis-based AnovaRx, a full-service specialty pharmacy for biopharmaceutical manufacturers.
  • Meanwhile, a source says a major company is preparing to divest its specialty pharmacy asset.

The bottom line: Specialty pharmacies play a vital role in getting niche medicines to those who need them most.

Sarah Pringle is co-author of the Axios Pro Health Tech offers newsletter. Start your free trial at AxiosPro.com.

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