Genomics group myDNA snaps up Sam Wood’s fitness program in $71m deal

Under the cash-scrip deal with 28’s parent group, Australian Life Tech (ALT), the fitness star founder Mr Wood will become an investor in myDNA, holding a 5 per cent stake.

The former The Bachelor Australia contestant said that this was a game changer for personalised health and wellbeing.

“We have a very strong B2C [business-to-consumer] platform. One thing we pride ourselves on is our personality and our personalisation. I think that’s why we’ve had the success that we’ve had, and myDNA, what they have that we find really attractive is that extra level of personalisation through genomics,” he said.

Mr Wood said it gives corporates the capability to build more bespoke wellness programs.

‘Terrific user experience’

Since being founded in 2016 by Mr Wood and his business partner David Jackson, who is CEO, ALT has expanded its offering into corporate wellness, white-label platforms, product partnerships and retreats.

It has worked with brands such as health insurer Bupa, Woolworths and Blackmores. It has achieved a three-year revenue and a compound annual growth rate exceeding 30 per cent. The group is profitable.

28 by Sam Wood built its website and app from scratch, which Mr Basta called a “terrific user experience” for exercise and nutrition, with sticky subscribers.

“Sam’s got a great following, and the platform itself as a beautiful user experience, which to be honest, from the myDNA perspective, the attractiveness in acquiring his business was all people that went along with it,” Mr Bastas said.

“What we also found appealing was the platform strategy behind it.”

28 by Sam Wood is already one of the country’s most popular at-home digital fitness programs, with more than 400,000 participants since its inception.

The pair have aspirations of building a global platform.

ALT will support myDNA to accelerate its software as a service offering and direct-to-consumer growth. MyDNA in January 2021 merged in a $US130 million deal with a much larger genetic testing firm, Houston-based Gene by Gene.

MyDNA operates three revenue streams: genetic genealogy services; laboratory clinical testing (and infrastructure) in Houston and Melbourne; and a subscription service business to business to consumer (B2B2C) business.

Mr Bastas, who is the founder of Arrotex Pharmaceuticals,  said myDNA is in talks with other US and Israeli-based possible acquisitions.

He said myDNA is still looking to list in the United States via a reverse merger with a shell company, Atlantica Inc, associated with Alan Gordon of PE firm Richland, Gordon & Company.

Mr Bastas said since SPACs (or special purpose acquisition companies) have fallen out of favour with the investment community, a reverse listing is more favourable in the coming months.

“We’re just in those stages of finding our cornerstone investor for the listing,” he said.

MyDNA is also backed by former Swisse CEO Radek Sali, who is a director and early investor, as is Probuild founder Phil Mehrten.

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