Feb 11, 2022 - Health

Scoop: Carlyle takes specialty pharmacy stake

Illustration of a pipette dropping droplets of coins into a test tube.
Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

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

Why it matters: Fueled by genomics and technology advances, rare disease drug and gene therapy development is accelerating quickly.

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

How it works: Orsini manages the handling and service requirements of costly and complex pharmaceuticals, with a particular focus on ultra rare drugs that oftentimes serve patient counts in the thousands.

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

State of play: Carlyle's investment, which sources say followed a Houlihan Lokey-run process, is the second specialty pharmacy deal in a matter of weeks.

  • In January, TPG Growth bought a minority stake in Memphis-based AnovaRx, a full-service specialty pharmacy to biopharma manufacturers.
  • Meanwhile, one source says a large corporate is readying a divestiture of its specialty pharmacy asset.

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

Sarah Pringle co-authors the Axios Pro Health Tech deals newsletter. Start your free trial at AxiosPro.com.

Go deeper