New York (CNN) WeightWatchers is tapping into the growing weight loss drug business.
The company will now buy WW International, a telehealth service that connects patients with doctors who can prescribe weight loss and diabetes medications, including the hot new diabetes drug Ozempic.
WeightWatchers offers subscribers meal plans and other tools for weight loss. Oprah Winfrey has a partnership and stake in the company.
The $106 million order buys WeightWatchers into the growing market for prescription drugs to treat obesity and other weight conditions. According to the CDC, 94% of American adults are classified as obese or overweight.
“There is growing scientific evidence that, for some, prescription chronic weight management drugs address the biological components of obesity,” WeightWatchers said in a statement Monday about the order.
Shares of WW International (It rose 20% during pre-market trading on the news Tuesday. )
Although WeightWatchers doesn’t mention Ozempic or any other drug, the company says Sequiz’s $99-a-month subscription plan helps connect customers with doctors who prescribe an appetite-regulating hormone called GLP-1.
The order of GLP-1 agonists helps include Wegovy, Ozempic, and Rybelsus.
These relatively new drugs work by stimulating the release of insulin, which helps lower blood sugar. They also slow down the food in the intestines.
The FDA approved Ozempic for diabetes in 2017 and Wegovy for weight loss in 2021.
Ozempic has gained popularity in part due to celebrities using it to lose weight.
But there are many concerns about using diabetes drugs for weight loss, including high costs and shortages that make it difficult for people with diabetes to get the drugs.