As demand for DTC at-home genetic testing increases among consumers and healthcare professionals, clinical laboratories that offer similar assays may want to offer their own DTC testing program
Things are happening in the direct-to-consumer (DTC) medical laboratory testing market. Prior to the pandemic, the number of consumers interested in ordering their own diagnostic tests grew at a rapid rate. The SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, however, and the need for consumers to access COVID-19 tests, caused DTC test sales to skyrocket.
One company benefiting from the DTC trend is New York City-based LetsGetChecked. In March, it announced its acquisition of Veritas Genetics which included that company’s Veritas Intercontinental business division. No purchase price was disclosed.
LetsGetChecked describes itself as a “virtual care company that allows customers to manage their health from home, providing direct access to telehealth services, pharmacy, and [clinical] laboratory tests with at-home sample collection kits for a wide range of health conditions,” according to the company’s LinkedIn page.
“Through these acquisitions, LetsGetChecked will leverage the power of whole genome sequencing to launch a full lifecycle of personalized healthcare, delivering the most comprehensive health testing and care solution on the market,” said Peter Foley, Founder and CEO of LetsGetChecked in a press release.
“By integrating Veritas Genetics’ and Veritas Intercontinental’s capabilities with LetsGetChecked’s scalable diagnostic and virtual care infrastructure, we are able to turn comprehensive genetic insights into practical recommendations and lifestyle changes, guided by clinical experts,” he added.
Leveraging the Power of Whole Genome Sequencing
To date, LetsGetChecked claims it has delivered nearly three million at-home direct-to-consumer tests and served more than 300 corporate customers with testing services and biometric screening solutions since its founding in 2015.
The company focuses on manufacturing, logistics, and lab analysis in its CAP-accredited, CLIA-certified laboratory in Monrovia, Calif., as well as physician support, and prescription fulfillment. The DTC company’s products include at-home tests for women’s health, men’s health, basic wellness, sexual health, and SARS-CoV-2 testing.
Veritas Genetics also was a DTC testing company co-founded by internationally-known geneticist George Church, PhD. In 2016, the company announced it would deliver a whole human genome sequence (WGS) for just $999—breaking the $1,000 cost barrier for whole genome sequencing.
In “Veritas Genetics Drops Its Price for Clinical-Grade Whole-Genome Sequencing to $599, as Gene Sequencing Costs Continue to Fall,” Dark Daily covered how just three years later, in 2019, the company announced it would do a WGS for only $599.
“There is no more comprehensive genetic test than your whole genome,” Rodrigo Martinez, former Veritas Chief Marketing and Design Officer, told CNBC. “So, this is a clear signal that the whole genome is basically going to replace all other genetic tests. And this [price drop] gets it closer and closer and closer.”
That market strategy did not succeed. By the end of 2019, the company announced it would cease operations in the United States but continue operations in Europe and Latin America. It has sought a buyer for the company since that time. Now, almost three years later, LetsGetChecked will become the new owner of Veritas Genetics.
Veritas’ primary product, myGenome was launched in 2018 as a whole genome sequencing and interpretation service to help consumers improve their health and increase longevity. The myGenome test screens for and provides insight on many hereditary diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurological disorders. It also provides observations on more than 50 personal traits and ancestry information.
In addition to bringing whole genome sequencing abilities to its test offerings for consumers, LetsGetChecked hopes the acquisitions will create new testing capabilities such as pharmacogenomics, cancer and viral screenings, and maternal fetal screenings.
“By integrating Veritas Genetics’ and Veritas Intercontinental’s genetics offering with our scalable virtual care infrastructure, we are able to leverage the power of whole genome sequencing to launch a full lifecycle of personalized healthcare, which has always been our goal,” Foley told MobiHealthNews.
Veritas Genetics and Veritas Intercontinental will continue to operate under the LetsGetChecked family of companies.
BioIQ also Acquired by LetsGetChecked
In early May, LetsGetChecked also acquired diagnostic testing and health improvement technology company BioIQ, which will continue to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary.
BioIQ offers at-home tests, health screenings, and vaccinations to consumers. The company’s products include:
- Heart health panel,
- Lipid panel,
- Respiratory panel,
- Prevention panel, and
- Wellness panel.
Individual tests offered by BioIQ include:
- Hepatitis C test and
- Sexually transmitted diseases.
BioIQ also offer e-vouchers for health screenings and vaccinations at participating retail pharmacies, clinical laboratories, and physician’s offices.
“The future of healthcare is in providing high-quality at-home diagnostics and care that comprehensively serve an individual’s health needs throughout their whole life,” said Foley in a press release about the BioIQ acquisition. “With this acquisition, LetsGetChecked gains a trusted partner with an extensive knowledge base and a breadth of experience in serving health plans and employer markets to deliver healthcare solutions at scale.”
These acquisitions by LetsGetChecked demonstrate how genetic testing companies are pivoting to new strategies. Clinical laboratories that perform genetic testing will want to monitor how these partnerships unfold in the future as healthcare consumers and providers continue to embrace at-home genetic testing.