Bayer to acquire personalized vitamins player Care/of valued at US$225m

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Pharmaceutical heavyweight Bayer is to acquire the majority stake of online personalized vitamins and supplements business Care/of. The transaction values Care/of at US$225 million and Bayer is set to acquire a 70 percent stake. Bayer will also have the option to acquire the remaining 30 percent by 2022. With personalization increasingly in focus, such a move by a major pharmaceutical company like Bayer confirms the trend’s accelerating growth potential within the nutrition and supplementation spaces. 

“Bayer has signed an agreement for a majority stake in Care/of, a personalized nutrition company founded in the US in 2016. The deal is contingent upon regulatory review. The partnership is an important milestone for both Bayer and Care/of in achieving our strategic business objectives. The specific terms of this agreement will remain undisclosed until closing, which is anticipated in Q4 2020,” a Bayer spokesperson tells NutritionInsight.

The purchase comes after Bayer agreed to buy UK women’s health biotech Kandy Therapeutics in a US$875 million deal, last month. Moreover, it is another example of the growth potential that digital, online and personalized health businesses are showing. From Nestlé’s Persona to Baze, Hum Nutrition and Proper, the personalized supplements space is booming with innovation.

Care/of and personalization in supplements
Care/of was founded in New York City, US, by Craig Elbert and Akash Shah in 2016. The company sells vitamin subscriptions and related paraphernalia such as reusable drink bottles and coffee cups. It was valued at US$156 million in 2018 after raising funds from investors including Goldman Sachs Group’s venture capital unit. 

Care/of was founded in New York City by Craig Elbert and Akash Shah in 2016.

In 2017, Care/of raised US$12 million in a Series A funding round led by Goodwater Capital. Based on the simple but fundamental belief that each person’s health journeys is unique, Care/of’s innovative platform recommends a specific mix of vitamins and supplements tailored to each user’s individual health goals, lifestyle and values. 

To build each pack, Care/of users answer a simple set of questions about their lifestyle, diet, routines, health history and future goals, and the company delivers a monthly box of specifically tailored packs directly to customers’ doors. By leveraging scientific research and data, Care/of is able to make recommendations on a personal level – and most people who go through the survey receive a combination of supplements that is totally unique to them.

According to Craig Elbert, CEO and Co-fFounder of Care/of, early on, the company showed potential as one of the fastest-growing companies in the direct-to-consumer health and wellness space. Revenues for the business doubled every two months since its launch – much of the growth driven by the immense organic interest from consumer health journalists, experts and influencers. 

“The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to health is outdated and oversimplified. From the start we’ve been committed to reshaping the health and wellness space by creating cutting-edge, interactive customer experiences built on both transparency and personalization,” Elbert previously commented. “Our growth in such a short period of time is a testament to the fact that consumer behavior is changing and the vitamin shopping experience was indeed broken.”

Personalization strides
Other companies active in personalized, subscription-based nutrition include sleep wellness brand Proper, which has launched a family of four sleep-aid supplements and a personalized coaching app to support US consumers’ slumber. Wellness start-up Heights has developed a subscription-based service delivering its omega-3 capsule packed with 18 key nutrients, which target a healthy brain and body. The product is hailed as a “smart supplement” as it offers people with busy lifestyles a fast solution to supplementation. 

In the same space, tailored nutrition start-up Baze has been awarded a patent for its novel “feedback loop approach” which assesses, recommends and doses personalized nutrients. The patent strengthens the company’s market position and enhances its approach to providing personalized nutrient recommendations, Baze notes.

Pharmavite, maker of Nature Made vitamins, has launched a personalized vitamin subscription service, called nurish by Nature Made. US consumers can fill out a comprehensive assessment to curate a 30-day supply of grab-and-go vitamin packets that are delivered to their homes. 

By Kristiana Lalou

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