By: Geraldine Ciaccio, PharmD Candidate c/o 2025
The personalized weight-loss program WeightWatchers took a significant step into the newly popularized obesity drug market. As one of the leading weight-loss programs in the United States, WeightWatchers customizes diet plans according to individual health goals. To expand its weight management platform into clinical settings, the company agreed to acquire Sequence, a telehealth platform that connects patients with obesity specialists. Sequence providers can prescribe weight management medications such as Wegovy, a glucagon-like peptide-1 agonist.1
WeightWatchers announced its agreement to acquire Sequence for $132 million in its latest press release on March 6th, 2023.1 Sequence was founded in late 2021 in San Francisco. The telehealth platform has gained 24,000 active members since its establishment. Members have praised the quality of care they receive from Sequence clinicians and the ease of obtaining insurance approvals. Members receive an initial consultation with a provider via video or message for $99 per month, as well as a platform where they can manage their treatment, ask questions, and practice healthy habits.2 WeightWatchers’ rationale for expanding to the clinical field is based on their mission to “help members achieve their weight management goals in a healthy, sustainable way consistent with the latest science.”2 The purpose of this merger is to provide a direct-to-consumer standard of care that delivers clinical care services as an adjunct to nutritional and behavioral change.
Only certain patients are eligible for the Sequence and WeightWatchers clinical weight-management program. Patients must be at least 18 years old, have commercial insurance, and have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 or a BMI greater than 27 with a qualifying condition, such as high blood pressure.3 In addition, pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, along with patients with a family history of medullary thyroid cancer are ineligible.3
The new clinical weight management program is advertised on WeightWatchers’ website as a “first-of-its-kind solution.” 3 It allows potential new members to join a waitlist for the upcoming service. This page stresses the idea that chronic weight management medications should not be used in place of healthy eating. Pairing these medications with WeightWatchers’ lifestyle and diet program aims to sustainably manage chronic obesity. New pharmacological interventions for the treatment of chronic obesity have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These medications include Wegovy, a once-weekly semaglutide injection approved by the FDA in June 2021 for chronic weight management in obese adults.4 In order to be considered for Wegovy, patients must have one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes. As per the FDA’s approval and guidelines, Wegovy is to be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and increased exercise.4 Representatives from both Sequence and WeightWatchers have emphasized this important condition. Remi Cossart, co-founder and CEO of Sequence, affirmed that “patient behavior change with medically appropriate clinical solutions is more powerful and more sustainable than clinical alone.”1 Similarly, the CEO of WeightWatchers, Sima Sistani, stated in the press release that with WeightWatchers’ “science-backed lifestyle program and Sequence’s tech platform, this is an unmatched opportunity to create an integrated product offering.”1 Together, both organizations will provide holistic solutions for patients living with obesity.
The transaction for the acquisition of Sequence by WeightWatchers is expected to close in the second quarter of 2023.2 As this date draws near, the company is working on creating an individualized plan for members who are eligible and eager to attempt to clinically manage their obesity. The integration of clinical expertise from Sequence with tailored healthy eating habits from WeightWatchers aims to provide effective care to patients all on one platform.
- WeightWatchers to acquire Sequence, a digital health platform for clinical weight management. WeightWatchers. Published March 6, 2023. https://corporate.ww.com/news-room/press-releases/news-details/2023/WeightWatchers-to-Acquire-Sequence-a-Digital-Health-Platform-for-Clinical-Weight-Management/default.aspx.
- WW entering clinical weight management: Acquisition of Sequence. WeightWatchers. Published March 6, 2023. https://s2.q4cdn.com/791992281/files/doc_financials/2022/q4/WeightWatchers-to-Acquire-Sequence-Presentation_vFINAL.pdf.
- Coming soon: clinical weight management. WeightWatchers. Published March 6, 2023. https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/medical-weight-loss#/scrollto/slice-id–294d5742-15b3-418c-addb-e147128f62c9.
- FDA Approves New Drug Treatment for Chronic Weight Management, First Since 2014. FDA. Published June 4, 2021. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-new-drug-treatment-chronic-weight-management-first-2014.