- WeightWatchers announced Monday it was buying Sequence, a clinical weight management platform.
- Members will get Sequence’s services including telehealth visits and prescriptions for weight loss drugs like Ozempic.
- WeightWatchers said it will pay $106 million for the acquisition in a combination of cash and stock.
WeightWatchers announced Monday that it is buying Sequence, a digital health platform for clinical weight loss management, in a $106 million deal.
Through Sequence’s $99-a-month subscription program, customers can schedule telehealth appointments with doctors who will prescribe weight loss and diabetes management drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy.
Sequence, which launched in late 2021, has about 24,000 members across the country as of February and a $25 million annual revenue rate, according to WeightWatchers’ press release.
A spokesperson for WeightWatchers told Insider that many details have yet to be “worked out” regarding how the Sequence platform will be integrated into WeightWatchers.
“We are very excited to have Sequence join the WeightWatchers team. Initially, we will continue to operate as two separate businesses but more to come on how we will integrate in the future,” a spokesperson for WeightWatchers told Insider in an emailed statement.
“As science advances rapidly, we know there is a significant opportunity to improve outcomes for those using medications,” WeightWatchers’ CEO Sima Sistani said in a press release. “It is our responsibility, as the trusted leader in weight management, to support those interested in exploring if medications are right for them.”
WeightWatchers chief scientific officer Gary Foster said the company will also develop programs that focus on strength training and high–protein diets to combat the muscle mass that often comes with weight loss, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy fall into a class of drugs known as GLP-1 agonists, which work by mimicking a naturally occurring hormone known as GLP-1 that suppresses appetite. Over the past several years, they’ve been largely prescribed for type 2 diabetes, WeightWatchers noted in its acquisition statement.
Ozempic — developed by the Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk — has been approved by the FDA to treat type 2 diabetes. While Wegovy, also made by Novo Nordisk, has been approved for “chronic weight management” in certain patients with other health conditions.
Over the past few months though, interest in these drugs has surged due to their rumored use by celebrities and influencers as a miracle weight loss drug. TikTok videos under the hashtags “#wegovy” and “#semaglutide” have racked up more than 800 million views on the platform. Doctors are even adding the hashtags to videos that are about weight loss solutions that don’t rely on those medications.
Now, companies are figuring out how to cater to — and cover — their employees’ growing interest in these drugs. The cost of these medications is steep, but “the drugs work, and covering them could help companies improve their workers’ health and keep them on the job,” Insider reported.
The news comes after a few tumultuous years for WeightWatchers. The company’s stock dropped almost 80% last year. However, the company’s stock is already up more than 12% in after-hours trading, according to Yahoo Finance, which is a sign that investors seem to approve of the deal.
Tele-health startups have faced controversy in recent years for how they’ve prescribed medications. The mental health startup Cerebral put dozens of patients on questionable treatment plans in 2021 and even misdiagnosed certain patients and is now fighting to reclaim its reputation.
Cerebral was also at the center of a controversy last year surrounding an advertisement featuring the gymnast Simone Biles that linked ADHD with obesity that was subsequently pulled from Meta.