23andMe is going public and Richard Branson is involved

February 5, 2021

Going public always was in 23andMe’s genes. Now, it’s happening, thanks to a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) created by Richard Branson’s London-based Virgin Group.

Founded in 2006, 23anMe offers DNA testing for inherited traits, genealogy, and possible congenital risk factors. The consumer genetics and research company announced on February 4 that it soon will be traded on the New York Stock Exchange, thanks to a merger with a Branson’s SPAC.

The deal, worth an estimated $3.5 billion, is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2021. The ticker symbol will change to ME, according to the companies.

“We have always believed that healthcare needs to be driven by the consumer, and we have a huge opportunity to help personalize the entire experience at scale, allowing individuals to be more proactive about their health and wellness. Through a genetics-based approach, we fundamentally believe we can transform the continuum of healthcare,” Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe’s CEO and cofounder, said in a written statement, in which she called Branson “a fellow industry disruptor.”

Branson was an early investor in the Sunnyvale, California-based DNA-testing company. He founded Virgin as a mail-order business in 1970 and subsequently founded Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Galactic. He was knighted in 1999.

23andMe currently boasts more than 12 million customers and has collected three billion phenotypic data points. Its human genome research has led to 150-plus peer-reviewed studies in scientific journals.

Research contact: @23andMe

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