WeightWatchers to Buy Sequence Telehealth, Enter Obesity Drug Prescription Business

March 07, 2023

(Reuters) - WW International Inc, known as WeightWatchers, said on Monday it is acquiring subscription telehealth platform Sequence, moving the weight-loss program operator into the obesity drug prescription business.

WeighWatchers said it expects its $132 million acquisition in cash and stock will complement its nutrition and behavior-change program for weight loss at a time when obesity drugs are seen as one of the biggest markets for drugmakers.

Analysts have forecast the global obesity market to be worth around $50 billion in sales in 2030.

"As science advances rapidly, we know there is a significant opportunity to improve outcomes for those using medications," WeightWatchers Chief Executive Officer Sima Sistani said in a statement.

Launched in 2021, Sequence now serves about 24,000 members across the U.S., as of February 2023, and clocks about $25 million in annual revenue on a run-rate basis.

The telehealth platform's website says its clinicians can prescribe medications like Novo Nordisk's Wegovy and Saxenda, and Eli Lilly's Mounjaro.

Currently, Wegovy and Saxenda are approved drugs for obesity in the United States, with tirzepatide also widely expected to be approved for it later this year.

In December, Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks called the drug one of its "generational opportunities". The drug was last year approved for diabetes, for which it is sold under the brand Mounjaro.

(Reporting by Leroy Leo in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)