BioSignia adds to service offerings with acquisition

Health technology company buys Doctors Direct Healthcare

david.ranii@newsobserver.comJuly 24, 2012 

— Health technology company BioSignia says it can now offer one-stop shopping to customers thanks to its acquisition of a Fayetteville business.

The recent purchase of Doctors Direct Healthcare – which offers services such as wellness and disease-management programs for employers that opt for self-insured health plans – has doubled BioSignia’s staff to about 40 workers. Financial details weren’t disclosed. BioSignia CEO John Williams said the privately held company paid a combination of cash plus equity to the approximately 300 physicians who owned Doctors Direct.

The company also is seeking to hire four or five new employees in Durham and Fayetteville.

The deal was driven by BioSignia customers seeking “a complete solution” rather than the piecemeal approach the company has offered up to now, said Jose Cortina, BioSignia’s general counsel and chief operating officer. Cortina also has assumed the role of president of Doctors Direct, which is operating as a subsidiary of BioSignia.

Founded in 1996, BioSignia has raised $55 million from angel investors.

The company’s primary business is its patented Know Your Number tests. Know Your Number, which for three seasons was featured on the NBC reality TV show “The Biggest Loser,” uses blood samples, family history and other data to identify an individual’s risk of developing life-threatening diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

The tests are sold for about $8 each to customers such as physicians, hospitals and self-insured employers. (Self-insured companies receive only aggregate results; individual patients aren’t identified.) The test results also include recommendations for what people can do to help avoid their at-risk diseases. Williams calls it “a road map to a healthier you.”

Smaller self-insured companies that lacked the medical staff required to make effective use of the Know Your Number test results have been pushing BioSignia to provide that service, Cortina said. That led it to team up with Doctors Direct, which has nine registered nurses on staff, on a few joint proposals, Cortina said. The success of those efforts inspired the acquisition.

Working closely with customers through Doctors Direct also should provide BioSignia with valuable feedback on how to improve Know Your Number, Williams said.

Dr. Michael Bryant, a Fayetteville surgeon who also was Doctors Direct’s president until the sale, couldn’t be reached for comment on the deal, which closed June 30. Bryant also is a member of BioSignia’s scientific advisory board.

Williams declined to disclose BioSignia’s revenue but said it grew more than 20 percent in 2011. He expects revenue to double this year with the Doctors Direct acquisition, plus the launch earlier this year of an upgraded version of the company’s second product. That product is sold to life insurance companies for determining an individual’s life expectancy.

Some of the companies that Doctors Direct competes with are also BioSignia’s customers. BioSignia recently sent customers a letter notifying them of the deal and pledging that Doctors Direct would pay the same price for the Know Your Number tests as everybody else.

“We are sensitive to our customers’ needs,” said Cortina.

Ranii: 919-829-4877

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service