Genetics company Prenetics acquires UK-based DNAFit


Prenetics, a leading 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 bluechip 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.

DNAFit CEO Avi Lasarow. PHOTO: Supplied
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.

African News Agency/ANA

General Electric looks to invest in Zimbabwe energy sector


U.S.-based multinational conglomerate General Electric (GE) has set its sights on investing in Zimbabwe’s energy sector, specifically its Batoka Hydro Power plant project.

The company’s top executives this week appeared before parliament’s committee on mines and energy and expressed their willingness to invest in aviation, locomotives, power and healthcare.

They included Serame Toukobong, the chief marketing officer of GE global operations for sub-Saharan Africa, director of project development Reginald Max and risk leader for Africa Todd Johnson.

“We want to provide financial and technical support to the government,” Max said.

“Zimbabwe is facing challenges because of limited financial resources. As a Zimbabwean I know my country is generally misunderstood. We want to demonstrate to the world that there are opportunities in Zimbabwe.”

GE has a presence in Angola, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, among other African countries.

Max said he was optimist that GE’s goodwill visit would culminate in investment opportunities.

“We want to engage in the Batoka Power Plant, which is a game-changer for Zimbabwe. We also want to install mini hydro-power stations because Zimbabwe is blessed with a large density of dams,” Max said. 

The proposed US$1.6 billion station is expected to generate 1,600MW of hydroelectric power from the Zambezi river which runs between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Max said GE had supplied turbines and generators and played a key role in the rehabilitation and refurbishment of the Kariba South power station. It has also worked at Hwange Power Station in close partnership with power utility Zesa Holdings. 

Since 2001, the United States has imposed financial and travel sanctions against key officials from the ruling ZANU-PF party over charges of rights abuses, but its government works to highlight opportunities for trade and investment that will benefit U.S. and Zimbabwean businesses alike. 

It provides guidance to U.S. businesses about how they can take advantage of opportunities in Zimbabwe while complying with U.S. law.

– African News Agency (ANA)