LetsGetChecked expands at-home testing with bid for George Church's Veritas companies

Birds of a feather flock together, and, apparently, so do biotechs of a feather. In side-by-side acquisitions, LetsGetChecked has struck a pair of deals to buy Veritas Genetics and Veritas Intercontinental, which share the at-home testing company’s mission of expanding access to comprehensive health screening.

Veritas Genetics, founded by serial biotech entrepreneur George Church, Ph.D., offers whole-genome sequencing for the low, low price of $599–a relative steal compared to the price tags of many other whole-genome screening providers.

Church, who was the first person to share his entire sequenced genome and medical records with the scientific community, started Veritas to make genetic screening more accessible. The sequencing service originally launched in 2016 at a $999 price point, placing it among the first to surpass the industry’s longtime goal of a “$1,000 genome.”

Now marked down by almost half, Veritas’ physician-authorized myGenome test provides clinical-grade sequencing to analyze genes associated with diseases, drug sensitivities and health traits. It also generates an ancestry report and, if needed, connects patients with genetic counselors to review their test results.

Veritas Intercontinental spun out of Church’s startup in 2018 to bring Veritas’ whole-genome sequencing platform to individuals outside of the U.S.

“As a global company, it made sense to us to bring both Veritas Genetics and Veritas Intercontinental together to enable international scale,” LetsGetChecked CEO Peter Foley told Fierce Medtech.

The latter company, he noted, “has built an incredible European extension of the brand, helping patients across the globe serving clients in over 30 countries, whilst Veritas Genetics has a strong presence in the U.S.”

Fierce 15 honoree LetsGetChecked is in the process of building a one-stop shop for at-home healthcare services. Ultimately, patients will be able to use the service to meet virtually with healthcare providers for initial and follow-up consultations, order more than 100 different diagnostic tests, be prescribed any necessary treatments and monitor progress—all from the comfort of their own homes.

In that respect, LetsGetChecked is racing against a lengthy roster of competitors like Cue Health, Everlywell, Scanwell Health and Color, all of which are in the process of rolling out and expanding their own combination testing and telehealth services. Even Labcorp has dipped a toe into these waters with the recent launch of OnDemand, an online service where people can order their own diagnostics, then receive a report highlighting any areas of concern in their results.

The dual Veritas buy will add genomic screening and interpretation to LetsGetChecked's offerings, bringing it even closer to its goal of helping patients better understand their own health and further minimizing the need for in-person doctor visits. The new additions will include whole-genome sequencing, narrower panels to assess pharmacogenomics and inherited disease risk, cancer and carrier screening, maternal-fetal testing and more.

Foley hinted that those services were on the way for LetsGetChecked in his Fierce 15 interview with Fierce Medtech earlier this year. At the time, he said the company’s upcoming M&A strategy would be led by its goal of “layering in genomics,” which he classified as “a very important cog in the wheel.”

The buyouts are expected to close by the end of the first fiscal quarter of 2022. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

The back-to-back Veritas buys round out a trio of new additions to the LetsGetChecked slate in the last year. In early August, it purchased a Florida-based pharmacy to help expand its pharmaceutical offerings for long-term cholesterol and thyroid management, among other conditions.

This M&A strategy is backed by the $150 million series D that LetsGetChecked closed last summer. The funding brought with it a $1 billion valuation for the Dublin- and New York City-based company and, it said at the time, will be used to add new diagnostic tests, virtual consultation tools and pharmaceutical services to the platform.