LetsGetChecked adds whole genome sequencing with Veritas buy

by Stephen Riddle

LetsGetChecked, a specialist in at-home diagnostic testing, has added genomics to its technology base with the acquisition of Veritas for an undisclosed amount.

The company said that the deal would allow it to add whole genome sequencing (WGS) to its range, giving it what it claims will be the most comprehensive health testing offering in the market, with everything from prenatal screening to predictive medicine.

Absorbing Veritas will take Ireland-headquartered LetsGetChecked into a market where Veritas vies with other WGS players like 23andMe, Nebula Genomics and Variantyx.

Founded in 2014, Boston-based Veritas was the first company to break the $1,000 barrier for whole genome sequencing, and since then has dropped the price to a few hundred dollars, whilst refining its platform through its own machine learning tools as well as algorithms developed by Google/Verily Life sciences.

Via sister company Veritas Intercontinental it also offers whole exome sequencing – which focuses on proteins coded in the genome – as well as non-invasive prenatal testing, with a presence outside the US.

Along with WGS, the acquisition gives LetsGetChecked access to Veritas’ other tools including pharmacogenomics services, cancer screening and carrier screening, said the company.

It’s a further sign of a turnaround at Veritas, which was forced to stop trading in 2019 – shedding staff – but was brought back to life a few months later with help from the US government’s pandemic related Paycheck Protection Programme (PPP).

“By integrating Veritas’…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,” said Peter Foley, found and chief executive of the diagnostics company.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of this year, said Foley, after which the company will introduced a new strategy to investors.

“Our mission to deliver the benefits of whole genome sequencing to millions of individuals continues as part of the LetsGetChecked family,” said D. George Church, co-founder of Veritas Genetics.

“I am particularly excited about the opportunity to combine genetic testing with the broad spectrum of virtual and at-home care models offered by LetsGetChecked.”

The deal with Veritas follows an earlier merger agreement between LetsGetChecked and analytics-driven population health and testing company BioIQ, first announced last November.

A month later, BioIQ filed a lawsuit against the company saying it was backing out of the agreement in order to secure a better deal, although both parties have since agreed to dismiss the complaint.

In June 2021, LetsGetChecked raised $150 million in fourth-round financing, taking its total raised to date to $260 million.

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