Consumer DNA testing giant 23andMe Holding Co. has agreed to purchase online care and pharmacy provider Lemonaid Health Inc. in a bid to make its personalized genetics approach part of patients’ primary care. 

Photo Credit: Bloomberg News

23andMe will pay $400 million for Lemonaid, with 25% of the purchase price in cash and the rest in shares, according to a statement. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the year.

Originally conceived as a vehicle for users to learn about and act on their genetic health characteristics, 23andMe has been moving more firmly into therapeutics. Meanwhile, the pandemic has created greater interest in telehealth, as the coronavirus limited patients’ ability to see health providers directly because of the risk of contagion.

Paul Johnson, Lemonaid’s chief executive officer and co-founder, will become general manager of 23andMe’s consumer business and run continue to run the division, according to the statement. Ian Van Every, the telehealth company’s co-founder and managing director for the U.K., will stay in a similar role with 23andMe.

GlaxoSmithKline Plc took a $300 million stake in 23andMe in 2018 with an agreement to collaborate on drug development. In October, the genetics company launched a subscription product that gives consumers health information.

The testing company has also initiated a study of genomics and other factors that may impact the severity of Covid cases.