23andMe (ME) stock rises on Nasdaq debut after SPAC deal

23andMe, the direct-to-consumer genetic testing firm headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, popped on its stock market debut Thursday.

The corporate is the most recent to go public by a particular goal acquisitions firm, or SPAC. The deal closed final week forward of its Nasdaq itemizing. Different firms present process SPAC mergers this yr embrace on-line lending platform SoFi, communal office-space firm WeWork, and scooter-rental firm Fowl.

Shares of 23andMe Holding Co. opened at $11.13 apiece, rising 20% to a peak of greater than $13 as of noon Thursday. It’s buying and selling below the ticker image ME.

Based in 2006, the corporate provides clients a full report of their genetic information and predispositions to a wide range of well being points—starting from the gentle to the super-scary, together with lupus, Alzheimer’s illness, and Huntington’s illness—all extracted from a number of drops of spit. Whereas genetic testing firms have proliferated since then, 23andMe was a pioneer within the subject, with Time journal naming it the invention of the yr in 2008.

Nevertheless, it was not with out controversy, prompting debate about whether or not its outcomes may result in genetic discrimination. As well as, some have raised privateness considerations over the truth that an impartial firm now owns the genetic information of what has grown to thousands and thousands of consumers, which it has up to now shared with one in all its backers, pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline, to be used in growing medication. Whereas some see the treasure trove of knowledge as a possible revolution in healthcare, others fear that it’s a slippery slope. Lately, the explosion of direct-to-consumer genetic testing firms has had plenty of unintended penalties, from unearthing buried household secrets and techniques to fixing decades-old chilly circumstances.

As worries grew, 23andMe’s success has considerably dimmed lately, with the corporate shedding 14% of its workers in January 2020 amid a slowdown in check equipment gross sales. It mentioned it should make investments the capital from the deal into its well being and therapeutics arm.

It has posted a string of web losses over the previous years.