Cue Health's new lineup of tests joins growing at-home collection market
Cue Health (HLTH) made a name for itself with an at-home COVID-19 test, a machine with a $200 price tag, and is out with 13 new tests this week, though none is compatible with the new machine. These at-home kits are processed at a lab, with results quickly available on the company's app.
Cue Chief Medical Officer, David Tsay, told Yahoo Finance that the company is working on more tests for its at-home machine, but that these new tests address market demand.
"We're expanding the product menu that works with the Cue health monitoring system," Tsay said.
That includes a flu test, combo flu/COVID test as well as an Mpox test. There are also clinical trials going on for RSV, chlamydia and gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), along with strep.
Tsay said the new tests will help in expanding the product line overall. Many of the tests chosen already have some competition in the market but were areas the company deemed important, such as heart health, men's and women's health, metabolic health, and wellness.
The tests can be ordered on the app or website and include everything for the lab to process.
But these are also out-of-pocket costs, as conversations with health insurers and government payers are still in the works. The tests start at about $69 for a colon cancer screening and go up to $224 for a women's health panel. There is also a Cue+ membership price that reduces the price by a few dollars, though the membership itself is $20 per month.
The turnaround times for the test results are somewhat like the COVID-19 PCR tests that were in high demand during the peak of the pandemic. On a normal schedule, turnaround can be one to two days, Tsay said.
Lab collection kits are not new, but they saw heightened interest during the pandemic. Where there was only a handful of players before, there are now many — including some of the biggest testing companies in the country.
"I think what we saw in the pandemic was really an acceleration of overall societal trends already that were towards more convenient and accessible health care," Tsay said.
Labcorp (LH) CEO Adam Schechter told Yahoo Finance late last year that the lab testing giant noted the trend, and that at-home collection kits add to the convenience through the company's network of physical locations.
"We are seeing more and more people opt to do at-home collections," Schechter said.
Labcorp launched its at-home kits last year, with a wider range of tests that cost anywhere from $29 to $219.
But Schechter added that the move doesn't disregard physicians as part of the equation.
Tsay, a medically trained doctor himself, noted the same.
"I think it's wonderful that consumers now have an increasing number of choices to be able to help them access health care from the convenience of their home," Tsay said.
He said that physicians will ultimately benefit from the lab results as they can quicken diagnosis and treatment work.
"I hear from my physician colleagues that even now, much of their health care delivery is still done remotely, despite the lifting of pandemic restrictions," Tsay said.
"Consumers have really gotten used to accessing health care more immediately, and are continuing to want the convenience of being able to access health care," he added.
The COVID-19 test remains the company's most successful product.
And though the new tests don't capitalize on the test readers, which cost more than other rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests on the market, they give the brand potential as more than just a one-test company after it went public mid-pandemic, Tsay said.
Cue launched in 2021 at $16 per share, but it fell into and has been trading in the single digit range since May of last year. It is faring better than other testing companies that rode the pandemic wave — some other startup test makers have since declared bankruptcy.
In third quarter earnings, Cue reported revenue of $69.6 million, a majority of which is coming from private sector clients, for its COVID-19 test.
Follow Anjalee on Twitter @AnjKhem
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