December 1, 2023

WeightWatchers’ inventory soared Tuesday right after the enterprise mentioned it is getting into the prescription drug weight loss small business with the acquisition of Sequence.

Sequence is a telehealth company that provides end users accessibility to medication used to address diabetic issues and being overweight less than the manufacturer names which include Ozempic, Wegovy and Trulicity. The medication all do the job by the exact same system: They bring about the release of insulin, block sugar creation in the liver and suppress appetite.

WeightWatchers features subscribers food programs with the intention of dropping excess bodyweight. With the acquisition of Sequence, it is tapping into a crimson-hot current market for prescription medicine that address obesity, and broadening what it delivers to shoppers.

“With our science-backed way of life application and Sequence’s tech system – which places intricate, slow coverage procedures on tech rails – this is an unmatched chance for us to generate an integrated products giving,” reported Sima Sistani, CEO of WeightWatchers, in a assertion.

The company’s telehealth participate in will come as the business struggles to reverse its sliding subscriber numbers and bolster its current user foundation. The firm ended the fourth quarter of 2022 with 3.5 million subscribers, down from the 4.2 million people it claimed earlier last year, according to a securites submitting

The company’s stock tumbled about 75% around the course of 2022, but surged almost 80% Tuesday following the Sequence deal was declared.

Ozempic and Wegovy are various variations of the identical drug, known as semaglutide. They are each given as at the time-weekly injections. Ozempic is accepted only to handle diabetic issues, despite the fact that it has been progressively approved for off-label use. Wegovy was permitted in 2021 to handle being overweight in grown ups, and late very last yr to handle the issue in adolescents 12 and older.

Use of medications for fat reduction will cause shortage


Overweight sufferers missing an typical of approximately 15% of their human body excess weight immediately after a minimal more than a year of using the drug, in accordance to a 2021 analyze published in the New England Journal of Medication. 

Whilst the Foods and Drug Administration approved semaglutide in 2017, fascination in the drug has surged only recently soon after a range of viral social media posts touted the drug as “Hollywood’s worst saved key,” among the other claims. The “Ozempic” hashtag has racked up 622 million views on TikTok. 

In a clinical demo, adults who utilised Wegovy lost about 15% of their preliminary human body fat, although teens dropped a bit more. For ideal benefits, the medication must be blended with diet plan and work out, industry experts say. Trulicity is a diverse drug, dulaglutide, employed to address diabetes in older people and young children ages 10 and more mature. It can be not accepted to deal with being overweight.

The off-label use of semaglutide, spurred by social media posts, led to a scarcity of the drug for most of final yr. Novo Nordisk claimed supplies are staying replenished, but lots of diabetes individuals nevertheless report problems accessing the medicines they will need.

Both of those Ozempic and Wegovy can cause attainable side results, the company stories. They contain achievable thyroid most cancers, pancreatitis, kidney and gallbladder issues. The most popular side effects are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach discomfort and constipation.

Being overweight prevalence rose from 30.5% from the 1999-2000 period of time to 41.9% for 2017 as a result of March 2020, in accordance to the Centers for Disorder Control and Prevention. The prevalence of intense being overweight surged from 4.7% to 9.2% for the same durations.

The believed annual healthcare value of weight problems in the U.S. was nearly $173 billion in 2019 bucks, according to the CDC. Annual professional medical expenditures for grownups who experienced being overweight were $1,861 increased than health care expenditures for persons with nutritious pounds.

“This deal provides access to prescription drug options for bodyweight loss to WW’s historic concentration on habits modification product,” wrote UBS analyst Michael Lasser. “This is a significant change in the business enterprise. Though the deal could provide appreciable upside, it also carries sizable challenges.”

Lasser stated that WW’s company has been disrupted in excess of the previous a number of many years and is now trying to consider huge measures to program proper.

“We think it will choose time to see if this action genuinely makes a alter in the company’s fortunes,” he explained.

WW Global, based in New York, will fork out $106 million for Sequence, which served about 24,000 customers throughout the U.S. as of February, with yearly profits of about $25 million.

CBS News’ Elizabeth Napolitano contributed to this report.


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