Genetic testing firm 23andMe is going public via a SPAC backed by Richard Branson

Dwelling DNA-testing firm 23andMe will go public through particular goal acquisition firm (SPAC) backed by Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, the companies announced Thursday.

“We’ve got all the time believed that healthcare must be pushed by the patron, and we’ve an enormous alternative to assist personalize all the expertise at scale, permitting people to be extra proactive about their well being and wellness,” 23andMe CEO and co-founder Anne Wojcicki stated in a press release.

The deal values the corporate at $3.5 billion, and present shareholders will personal 81 % of the corporate. Wojcicki and Branson every invested $25 million themselves as a part of the $250 million fund shaped to take the corporate public. The deal is anticipated to shut within the second quarter, at which era the corporate will start buying and selling on the New York Inventory Alternate below the ticker image ME.

SPACs, which grew in recognition in 2020, are formed by groups of investors with the intent of acquiring a company. Also referred to as a “blank-check” firm, a SPAC is seen as a less-risky possibility than the normal IPO, and it provides newer firms entry to late-stage firm quantities of capital.

Launched in 2006, 23andMe sells saliva kits individuals can use at residence to find out their genetic ancestry and their probabilities of creating sure ailments. The corporate has an estimated 10 million clients in its database and says greater than 80 % of consumers comply with take part in medical analysis.

Wojcicki stated Thursday that the funds will let the corporate broaden into creating therapeutics, seen as a extra profitable market than shopper DNA testing, according to The Wall Street Journal. A slide deck asserting the deal confirmed the corporate sees massive progress potential within the therapeutics market.

The slide deck from 23andMe SPAC presentation reveals how a lot progress potential the corporate sees in therapeutics

Some blame the downturn within the recognition of DNA residence testing on privateness issues, together with stories that the FBI had used genetic results from consumer DNA companies’ databases to unravel chilly case crimes. 23andMe and different companies have promised not to share customers’ data without consent.

Wojcicki acknowledged a slowdown within the DNA home-testing market on Thursday. “We’ve got all the time seen well being as a a lot larger alternative” than DNA ancestry, she instructed the WSJ.

Branson, an early investor in 23andMe, said Thursday “there is no such thing as a higher cash to speculate than in well being care.”

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