Virtual health company Ro continues to bulk up its capabilities through M&A and is now moving into at-home testing.
The startup provides online pharmacy services, telehealth and in-home care, and the acquisition of Kit, announced Wednesday, expands the diagnostics capabilities and lab infrastructure of Ro’s vertically integrated primary care platform.
Kit’s at-home, self-administered testing kits will enable Ro to facilitate primary care for more health conditions and support chronic and preventive care, virtually and in patients’ homes, the company said in a press release.
Ro started out three years ago selling erectile dysfunction medication and hair loss supplements to men. The company has since built out a telehealth company with three online health clinics, and, now, it wants to expand into remote monitoring for chronic conditions. It's also venturing into the home-based healthcare market with its recent acquisition of software company Workpath.
In May, the company added reproductive health to its growing platform with plans to acquire Modern Fertility. The deal was valued north of $225 million, according to sources familiar with the deal.
In March, Ro scored a hefty $500 million series D round led by existing investors General Catalyst, FirstMark Capital and TQ Ventures. The company has raised $876 million since its founding in 2017.
Following the acquisitions of Workpath and Modern Fertility, the deal to bring on Kit is "one more step forward to turn the home into the exam room of the future," Zachariah Reitano, co-founder and CEO of Ro, told Fierce Healthcare.
"Ro’s mission is to build a patient-centric healthcare system, and Ro’s acquisition of Kit is an important step in bringing that future into reality. When I used Kit for the first time, it felt like I was living in the future. Kit is a complete paradigm shift to the current status quo for at-home testing. No longer do you need to go into a doctor’s office for routine health data collection, from blood to saliva to blood pressure to weight—you can do it all from the comfort of home," he said.
Providers will be able to order Kit diagnostic tests for patients directly through Ro’s platform, providing the objective health data necessary to inform high-quality care for a range of health conditions—from sexual health to chronic conditions like high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes, Reitano said.
Kit, also known as Kit.com, currently offers customizable, physician-ordered diagnostic tests, including finger-prick blood assays, blood pressure tests and weight measurement tools—all adjusted to the needs of the patient. Patients are guided step by step by video and on-demand support through the Kit app. The company processes the tests at a high-complexity, CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited lab, which it owns and operates in San Francisco.
Founded in 2020, Kit has raised $3.3 million in venture capital funds, according to Crunchbase.
Ro plans to integrate Kit and Workpath, its on-demand, in-home care and diagnostic services API.
"This will create a single diagnostics API that will enable any healthcare company to quickly and seamlessly collect the biometric data they need in the most convenient way for patients and the most clinically rigorous for providers. This could be a blood assay, saliva sample, blood pressure reading, or weight measurement that can be self-administered at home, or a full venous blood draw or skilled nurse visit that is best done by a provider in the patient’s home," Reitano said.
This service could eventually include in-home vaccinations or imaging.
"We want to unlock as much care through our shared infrastructure as possible," he said.
Kit will continue to operate independently and serve its existing business-to-business customers, including life insurance companies and other digital health companies.
The combination of Kit and Workpath will strengthen Ro’s in-home care capabilities for patients while also expanding its B2B offerings and enabling other companies to build in-home products and services, company executives said.
The acquisition builds on Kit's focus on developing affordable routine medical care into as many patients’ homes as possible, according to Philip Fung, founder and CEO of Kit, and Erik Salazar, co-founder and chief operating officer of Kit.
Joining Ro will enable the testing kit company to create turnkey diagnostics APIs for companies, reducing the friction of patient testing and transitioning more healthcare services from responsive to preventive, Fung and Salazar said.