Alibaba-backed Genetics Company Prenetics acquires DNAFit

Updated on 19 April 2018

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Avi Lasarow
Avi Lasarow, founder of DNAFit.

Prenetics, a genetic testing and digital health company with a global footprint, has acquired UK-based DNAFit which was founded in 2013 by Johannesburg-born genetics lifestyle entrepreneur Avi Lasarow.

The acquisition, the first by Prenetics, sees it take on consumer genetic testing company DNAFit which has sales in over 40 countries.

In a statement, Prenetics said the deal would see it add a proven business-to-consumer channel to its already strong business-to-business offerings via large insurers and corporates.

This acquisition further sets Prenetics on track of achieving its goal of empowering millions of people globally with powerful and actionable genetic information,” the Hong Kong headquartered company, which has received over US $50m in funding from Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund and Ping An Insurance, said.

Danny Yeung, CEO and co-founder of Prenetics said: “Our mission is to give everyone the power to be in control of their own health. DNAFit is a pioneer in direct to consumer genetic testing and has developed a strong reputation in the industry. We are extremely excited to have DNAFit as part of our international growth strategy to help people lead healthier, more active lives by empowering them with personalised, preventive, and actionable genetic information.”

Lasarow said: “In joining forces with Prenetics, this takes us one step further in our mission to change the way individuals adapt their lifestyle behaviours by understanding how genetics plays an important role in personalised and preventive health. In just a short time, Prenetics has already empowered several hundred thousand individuals with valuable health information. Through this acquisition, we will work together to underpin the industry’s growth as consumers seek more help in their quest for healthier lifestyles.”

According to Prenetics, the expected annual market size for consumer genetic testing is expected to be US $50 billion by 2026.

Since 2013, DNAFit has matched both ordinary individuals and elite sportspeople to the diet, nutrition and fitness plans that best suit their DNA and has already worked closely with a number of blue chip companies and brands, including LinkedIN Global, Talk Talk, Channel 4, Disney Europe, PUMA, BNP Paribas, Alexander McQueen and the Egyptian Olympic Association.

“Since we began in 2013, we’ve taken cutting edge science out of the laboratory and into the hands of tens of thousands of people, helping them understand how their DNA affects their response to exercise and nutrition changes, to change the way we train and eat, one DNA sample at a time,” the company said.

Cindy Chow, executive director of Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, said: “Part of our mission here at Alibaba is to help companies we invest in go global and to make a big impact. We have been highly impressed with what Prenetics and DNAFit have achieved in making health a choice for many. The consumer market globally for genetic health testing is growing at an incredible speed and we look forward to working closely with both companies in the field of genetics.”

Lasarow added that the deal would allow DNAFit to now “aggressively expand its headcount within its South Africa operations”.

According to the statement, it is estimated that a hiring push will see staff numbers swell from 35 to approximately 80 people within the first 12 months, making the South African hub a critical component of an operation supporting customers throughout Europe and Southeast Asia.

“I’m delighted that our expanding office here will play a key role In accelerating the group’s preventative digital health strategies globally that specifically target the ‘three highs’ of cholesterol, blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. We have already impacted several hundred thousand lives, and expect this to now accelerate faster.”

DNAFit will continue to operate its own brand while CEO Lasarow will continue to lead the business. Lasarow has also been appointed CEO of Prenetics International and a member of the Prenetics board. (via African News Agency)

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